THE Commonwealth Games in Glasgow has caught the attention of most people around the country.
It has been a joy to watch particularly as the Para Games has been integrated, been seen and broadcast to a wider audience. It was great to see Libby Clegg and Aled Davies in particular flying the flag for all those with a disability and serving as a great inspiration to many.
At ubu, we help to support vulnerable people, providing a stepping stone for independence but also the chance to get involved in sport and become socially active with other people following in the footsteps of role models such as Aled and Libby.
The wonderful people that we serve have all enjoyed their fair share of sports and activity. We will continue to provide the very best opportunities for all those with a disability to get involved, whatever their sport. This also plays a big part in the way we encourage inclusivity for the people we serve.
As an example of some of the things we do, we recently held a cycle ride at the John Charles centre in honour of Le Grand Depart, the event which kicked off the Tour de France in Yorkshire. The day was brilliant for everyone involved and many of the people we serve enjoyed it and used it as an opportunity to meet new people and try new things.
ubu encourages the people we serve to lead fully independent, active lives in their own communities.
Below are a number of inspirational people who have gone on to overcome their challenges to achieve success at the highest level:
Libby Clegg is a Scottish Paralympic sprinter who has represented both Scotland and Great Britain at international events including the 100m and 200m. She won gold at this year’s Commonwealth Games.
Clegg has a deteriorating eye condition known as Stargardt’s Macular Dystrophy disease giving her only slight peripheral vision in her left eye – she is registered blind.
Aled is a Paralympian athlete from Wales competing mainly in category F42 throwing events. In 2012 he became the world record holder of the F42 shot put and in the 2012 Summer Paralympics he took the bronze medal in shot put and gold in the discus. In 2013 Davies took the World Championship gold in both the shot put and discus in Lyon. He was born with hemimelia of the right leg but has overcome the odds to become a world record holder.
Erraid Davies is a Scottish swimmer from Shetland. In 2014 at the age of 13 she became the youngest person to compete for Scotland in the Commonwealth Games and achieved a bronze medal in the SB9 category for 100m breaststroke.
Davies was diagnosed with Perthes disease, a hip problem at the age of four making her success even more remarkable.
Aileen McGlynn OBE is a Scottish Paralympic tandem cyclist who is partially sighted. McGlynn achieved a silver medal at this year’s Commonwealth Games following on from her previous successes at 2008 Summer Paralympics in Beijing and UCI Track Cycling World Championships.
Sophie Thornhill is a visually impaired English racing cyclist who competes in para-cycling tandem track events. She is a double world champion, with pilot Rachel James, and a double Commonwealth gold medallist, with pilot Helen Scott, in the tandem sprint and 1 km time trial events. She has a condition known as oculocutaneous albinism, which causes visual impairment.
While sport has value and importance in everyone's life today, it is especially important in the life of a person that has to deal with the challenges a disability brings.
The power of sport supports interaction and inclusion for those who are disabled in whatever way. It can also help with integrating people into society again, as well as building confidence. Importantly it also acts to break down barriers as we have seen at Glasgow 2014, where able bodied and para athletes have competed on the same track and pool on the same days. This is helping to erode prejudice and ignorance barriers into total integration.
Being involved in sport can also help with building a healthy lifestyle. Any form of physical activity can keep the body in check whilst also boosting the confidence of competitors so people feel better about themselves.
Seeing the para-athletes competing at the Commonwealth Games brings a source of inspiration to people who sometimes struggle to get the motivation to play sport. ubu will remain at the forefront in encouraging those with both disabilities and low self esteem to play sport while providing them with the opportunities to do so.