INAS Global Games Just 1 Year Away! 25 September 2014

It's just one year to go to the next Inas Global Games! September 20th 2014 marked a significant moment for Inas, the International Federation for sport for para-athletes with an intellectual disability, and FEDEDI, the Federación Ecuatoriana de Deportes para Personas con Discapacidad Intelectual, at it marks exactly 1 year until the opening ceremony of the 2015 Inas Global Games.

Stephen Morris in action at London 2012

Stephen Morris in action at London 2012

The Games take place every four years and provide elite competition in 8 sports. More than 1,000 athletes representing 40 nations are expected to attend the 4th edition of the event which takes place in Guayaquil, Ecuador in 2015.

President of the Organising Committee Juan Carlos Araujo explained, "With one year to go, we are pleased to invite organisations around the world to be involved in this incredible event - as sponsors, as suppliers and as supporters. We believe this is a unique and exciting opportunity for companies to get behind para-sport stars of the future".

Stephen Morris, aged 26 from Cardiff, Great Britain competed in the 2011 Inas Global Games and London 2012 Paralympic Games in the T20 1500m "My first Global Games were very special to me. I made the 800m final and came 6th. The UK Sports Association, the Inas member organisation in the UK, helped to get me into the Global Games. Gerwyn from Disability Sports Wales has been a great help for me over the last one and a half years too. The Global Games helped me get to know the athletes before the Paralympics in 2012. It was a great practice to get me ready for the Paralympics and I'm now hoping to get to Rio 2016! I am really looking forward to the 2015 Global Games. I am hoping to get to the finals and to get into the top 3!"

"The Global Games is an important event on the sporting calendar", remarks Tracey McCillen, Chief Executive, UK Sports Association. "We plan to send a strong British Team to the event, but need the support of funders and business to make it happen. British athletes with learning disability selected to the Global Games Team do not receive any funding from the vast pots available in sport and will have to fundraise for the privilege of representing Great Britain at the Global Games. Policy needs to change to support these talented athletes and our work in preparing them for the rigours of international competition."

The event kicks off on 20th September 2015 with a spectacular opening ceremony in the Alberto Spencer stadium with capacity for 42.000 people in Guayaquil and concludes 7 days later.

For more information on the GB Team contact the UK Sports Association. For more information on Inas see www.inas.org.

National Paralympic Day 22 August 2014

National Paralympic Day is an annual celebration of the Paralympic movement in the UK, held to recreate the wonder of London 2012 and takes place on Saturday 30th August 2014.

National Paralympic Day 2014

At the heart of the celebrations is National Paralympic Day featuring Mayor of London's Liberty Festival in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Grab a £5 ticket and cheers on ParalympicsGB stars including Paralympic gold medal winning swimmer Jessica-Jane Applegate who has learning disability in the London Aquatics Centre.

To find out more about what's happening and how you can get involved at a National Paralympic Day celebration near you visit www.paralympics.org.uk/npd2014.

My Sport, My Voice! 22 August 201

The race is on to find our 12 Athlete Ambassadors for the My Sport, My Voice! project! Athlete Ambassadors will benefit from media training, one-to-one life skills sessions and a team of people working to raise their profile!

My Sport My Voice Page 1
My Sport My Voice Page 2

This week we sent out information packs to all UK and Inas classified athletes in the UK. If you're a classified athlete or if you're an advocate or coach of a classified athlete and haven't received a pack yet, please give us a call on 020 749 3057.

Swimmers with learning disability steal the show at Glasgow 2014 28 July 2014

England's Tom Hamer set a new British record to win silver and Wales' Jack Thomas took bronze in the Commonwealth Games Para-sport S14 200m freestyle. S14 is the classification given to swimmers with learning disability.

Jack Thomas, Daniel Fox and Tom Hamer

From left to right: Jack Thomas, Daniel Fox and Tom Hamer


The event, won by Australia's Daniel Fox, was the first at the Commonwealth Games for swimmers with learning disability.

Fox set a new world best of one minute 57.16 seconds in qualifying. But he failed to improve in the final, winning in 1:57.68, ahead of Hamer (2:00.27) and Thomas (2:01.27).

Hamer, 15, whose time beat the 2:01.27 set by Dan Pepper in 2011, was thrilled with his silver medal and British record. "I'm well chuffed. I'm so happy with it," said the Burnley swimmer.

"I came in here ranked fourth so I didn't really expect a medal. I am really shocked," Thomas, 19, told BBC Sport.

Both swimmers went on to congratulate each other on Twitter, with silver winning Hamer Tweeting 'Well done to @JackThomas1995 on his bronze. That Aussie is going to take some catching. #swimfast #teamGB' to which Jack Thomas responded '@TomHamerS14 well done to you too pal. He'll be caught just gonna have to train hard!'.

Both Hamer and Thomas will be competing for Great Britain at the IPC Swimming European Championships, which take place in the Netherlands from 4-10 August.


UKSA vice chair Janice Eaglesham takes starring role in Commonwealth Games opening ceremony 24 July 2014

Opening Ceremony

UKSA vice chair Janice Eaglesham takes part in Commonwealth Opening Ceremony with other sports volunteers from across Scotland..can you spot her?

UK Sports Association for people with learning disability (UKSA) vice chair Janice Eaglesham was beamed into over 1 billion homes across the planet during the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games on Wednesday 23rd July. Janice, who has sat on the board of UKSA for over a decade took a starring role in the ceremony.

The Queen's Baton started its 190,000 km journey on the 9th October 2013 before travelling around the Commonwealth for 288 days for the Queen's Baton Relay. Scottish adventurer Mark Beaumont carried the baton on the last leg of its journey into Celtic Park stadium before handing it to UNICEF friend, 12-year-old Jennica Sterling from Jamaica.

The baton was then passed from Jennica to a handful of sports volunteers from across Scotland including UKSA's very own Janice Eaglesham who passed it between each other, dressed in traditional Scottish kilts, in a choreographed formation of turns that looked spectacular.

Janice said: "I'm so, so proud to be part of the opening ceremony, and it's even more special that it's taking place in my home country. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity and truly an honour to have been chosen to take part in such a special event!"

With the ceremony nearing its conclusion, the volunteers, including 'our Janice' passed the baton to 97-year-old war veteran Andy Coogan, the great uncle of GB's most successful ever Olympian, Sir Chris Hoy. The six-time Olympic gold medallist describes Andy as his inspiration to become a sportsman.

The two men embraced in what was clearly an emotionally charged moment, before Andy passed on the baton to Sir Chris to pass to Commonwealth Games president Prince Imran of Malaysia. The baton, containing the Queen's message refused to open but Sir Chris came to the rescue. Afterwards he tweeted 'Blimey that was like trying to solve a Rubik's cube! #phew'

What an amazing start to what looks set to be an amazing games. #BringItOn

S14 para-swimmer Bethany Firth is breaking down walls at The Commonwealth Games 23 July 2014

Bethany Firth

Bethany Firth with her gold medal from London 2012 Paralympic Games (picture courtesy of Disability Sport Northern Ireland)

Glasgow 2014 is the most inclusive Commonwealth Games to date, with 300 para-athletes from more than 20 countries chasing 22 gold medals in cycling, athletics, swimming, powerlifting and lawn bowls.

Most encouragingly is the very first inclusion of an event for athletes with learning disability, in the men's 200m freestyle S14 (the classification given to swimmers with learning disability).

Unfortunately, there isn't a women's S14 race meaning that Paralympic gold medal winner Jessica Jane Applegate MBE won't get the chance to compete at these Games but with such a positive step forward in 2014, the future could see more events on the programme.

However, for 18-year-old S14 swimmer Bethany Firth, that hasn't proven a problem, as she has been selected to the Northern Ireland squad to compete in a seven able body events.

Bethany said: "Qualifying for The Commonwealth Games just shows how much hard work my coach has put in to get me to this standard. It's a privilege to be picked to represent Northern Ireland and to have the chance to swim in such a major competition with able bodied swimmers. I am very excited about it".

UKSA Tracey McCillen said: "What a fantastic achievement for Bethany, we're so thrilled for her and will be cheering her on during all her races!".

Having won a gold in the S14 100m backstroke at the London 2012 Paralympic Games whilst representing Ireland, and a further three silver medals at the 2013 IPC Swimming World Championships she decided to compete for GB.

Bethany isn't the only elite athlete with a disability from Northern Ireland who will be competing in a non-disabled event, her teammate sprinter Jason Smythe will also compete against non-disabled athletes.

A number of other London 2012 champions will be missing the action in Glasgow, notably Ellie Simmonds, Jonnie Peacock, Hannah Cockroft, Josie Pearson and Dame Sarah Storey as their Para-sport events are not part of the Glasgow programme either. "I'm very envious of those who have events at the Games," says amputee sprinter Peacock, who is also world champion in his 100m event. "It's great for those who have been selected to have a mainstream event which includes Para-sport races."

UK Sports Association for People with Learning Disability (UKSA) is the only organisation in the UK that focuses exclusively on elite sport for athletes with learning disability. UKSA implements, manages and leads the eligibility and classification system for athletes with learning disability. UKSA also select, manage and support the GB Team across a number of sport at European and World Championships, including the Inas Global Games and support athletes and their families in preparation for the rigors of international sport. UKSA also raise the profile of sport for people with learning disability and enable talented athletes to excel.

Bethany's events

Thur 24th July 

4 x 100m freestyle relay heat 2 (lane 3)

Fri 25th July

100m backstroke heat 2 (lane 7)

 

50m freestyle heat 7 (lane 8)

Sat 26th July

50m butterfly heat 4 (lane 1)

Sun 27th July

100m freestyle heat 3 (lane 3)

 

200m individual medley heat 2 (lane 3)

Mon 28th July

50m backstroke heat 4 (lane 1)

The Commonwealth Games demonstrate how disability sports can be integrated into major events, says Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson 17 July 2014

Eleven time Paralympic gold medal winner, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson has welcomed the integration of disability sports into The Commonwealth Games which start next week. A total of 22 medals across five Para-sports will be up for grabs at Glasgow 2014, including a 200m freestyle event for S14 swimmers, which is the classification given to swimmers with learning disability on Saturday 26th July.

Thomas Hamer competes in the Mens 200m

Thomas Hamer competes in the Mens 200m

"The Commonwealth Games show that it doesn't matter if you are disabled or non-disabled," said Grey-Thompson. "The Commonwealth Games is the one event that does integration properly."

One of Britain's most successful disabled sports stars, Grey-Thompson added: "People who come to watch don't differentiate, they just want to see good sport."

The Glasgow 2014 Games are the very first Commonwealth Games to include events for athletes with learning disabilty.

Twenty-four-year-old Craig Rodgie will compete for Scotland and tweeted "I can proudly say that's me on the swim team for @Team_Scotland for #Glasgow2014" when his selection to the Scotland team was confirmed.

Nineteen-year-old Jack Thomas will represent Wales and recently tweeted 'Can't wait to get racing now, feeling fantastic in the water #CWG2014 #GoWales'

The youngest S14 swimmer to take part in the Games is fifteen-year-old Tom Hammer who will swim for England, he said: "I'm well excited about the competitions this summer. It's better than going on holidays and a great chance to represent my country.

The men's 200m freestyle S14 heat takes place on Saturday 26th July at 11.05am with the final taking place at 7.29pm. Follow the swimmers on Twitter: @jackthomas1995, @craigrodgie, @tomhamerS14