Games source of inspiration for all
PLYMOUTH can lay claim to having staged the biggest celebration of disabled sport to be held in Devon as about 600 youngsters from around the county descended on the Life Centre.
Almost 500 competitors and nearly 100 young volunteers were involved in the Devon Winter Ability Games, at the city's state-of-of-art multi-sports venue.
They were representing 26 schools county-wide, including 12 from Plymouth, in an event that provides an important showcase for disability sport in Devon.
The massive success of the 2012 Paralympic Games is seen as a significant factor in attracting a record number of participants to the Ability Games.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, May 26 2013
David Hill, the former Kelly College (Tavistock) student who swam at the Athens Games in 2004, was on hand to give the youngsters even more encouragement and had nothing but praise for the initiative.
Hill said: "It's really nice that people now are noticed as Paralympians rather than disabled people, so it's had a really powerful impact and it's great to see it continuing.
"I took part in an event like this when I was very young.
"The School Games was part of my journey as an athlete and I'm looking out for future Paralympians here."
Hill retired from swimming in April but is planning a comeback to sport.
Triathlon has been accepted into the Paralympics for the first time in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and Hill has signed up for a talent camp to see if he can make it.
"I've set New Year's resolutions to get fit and active and it's all down to the Paralympic Games," he said.
The young volunteers from schools around Plymouth were a key factor in making the day a success.
Jade York from Notre Dame School said: "I think an event like this is important because it brings people together, gets them interested in sport and enjoying it."
Sophie Rees, also from Notre Dame, added: "I enjoy sport and I think it's good that people of all abilities can get involved. The Olympics and Paralympics really inspired people to try new things."
Howard Turner, of the Plymouth School Sports Partnership, added: "A lot of the students here won't get the opportunity to take part in competitive sport within their own schools.
"But they get to come here and represent their school in a competition which is a massive thing for them and their self-esteem and their sense of belonging really to their own schools."
The event was part of the national School Games initiative, launched last year to motivate millions of young people across the country to take part in competitive school sport.
City schools taking part were All Saints Academy, Eggbuckland Community College, Hele's School, Lipson Community College, Longcause Community Special School, Mill Ford School, Plymstock School, Sir John Hunt Community Sports College, St Boniface College, Stoke Damerel Community College, Tor Bridge High and Woodlands School. From West Devon, Tavistock College and Ivybridge Community College also took part.