Showcasing ability in sport at the Sussex Parallel Youth Games
Ability in sport was celebrated and showcased at the Sussex Parallel Youth Games last week.
The thrilling, 'mini-Paralympics,' in its 14th year, took place at the K2 Crawley, a state-of-the-art competition venue operated by Everyone Active, on Wednesday 15 May.
Over 400 young people, from 15 schools across the county, enjoyed the prestigious occasion, taking part in a range of sports from bouldering and climbing to new age kurling!
The Sussex Parallel Youth Games, organised by Active Sussex, with support from event sponsor Everyone Active and Sussex School Games Organisers, is the only event of its size for disabled children in Sussex.
A fun, non-competitive, disability sporting event is created for local young people, aged from 10-18 years, to try out sports and learn new skills such as teamwork and leadership.
This year, for the first time, the Sussex Parallel Youth Games is part of the Specsavers School Games programme.
Students from Angmering School, Chailey Heritage School (East Sussex), Glyne Gap (Bexhill-on-Sea), Grove Park (Crowborough), Hamilton Lodge (Brighton), Hill Park School (Brighton), Manor Green (Crawley), Muntham House (Horsham), Northease Manor (East Sussex), Oak Grove (Worthing), Saxon Mount School (East Sussex), St Anthonys (Chichester), St Pauls Catholic College (West Sussex), St Marys (Bexhill-on-Sea) and Woodlands Meed (West Sussex) took part.
The inspirational athletes participated in various sports including swimming, boccia, cricket and street soccer and there was also the opportunity to attend a dance workshop and perform at the special and moving closing ceremony too where top three schools in each event were then presented with medals.
GB Rowing star Charles Cousins introduces the day
Athletes were cheered on by Charles Cousins, the 30-year-old London Olympian and double World Championships medallist.
Charles gave a motivational speech to the participants during the opening ceremony, inspired and supported the participants throughout the day and presented medals.
"I found school quite a difficult time and at first I didn't even like sport! Things could have turned out very differently for me, but I was very lucky and after being given an opportunity I found a love for sport that really helped me," said one of the GB Rowing Team's former leading scullers.
"I encourage you all to find something you love doing and stick with it. Training can be hard, but in the end, if you put in the hard work, it pays off!"
The rower also added after the event how inspired he was by the day as a whole: "There really is a sport for everyone and days like the Sussex Parallel Youth Games are so important because it gives the opportunity for young people to have fun, take part in lots of non-traditional sports and feel proud of their achievements.
"It's vital that events like this continue for children with disabilities because it will help build confidence and skills. I'm also sure there are future Paralympic stars here also but most importantly the day is about creating amazing memories and experiences for the young people."
Young leaders provide vital support
More than 100 young leaders aged 13-18 also helped out on the day, assisting with the running of sports such as tennis and swimming, coordinating dance routines and providing logistical support.
All young leaders are given disability awareness training and some plan to go on to study PE and to use these skills directly in the future.
This event would not be possible without the kind donations made by guests at our annual Sussex Sports Awards, Everyone Active, Specsavers and Claims.co.uk
Everyone Active provided their fantastic Olympic training venue K2 Crawley for the event, which provided the perfect backdrop for sports on offer.
Stuart Mills, from Everyone Active, said: "The Parallel Youth Games is a fantastic event which Everyone Active is proud to be a part of for the first time. I hope that the children coming enjoyed their experience and find a new sport that they enjoy."
With another successful event done and dusted, we’re already looking forward to the 2020 Parallel Youth Games and to welcoming back hundreds of smiling children giving sport and physical activity a go!
Speaking about the annual inspiring event, Active Sussex Chief Executive Sadie Mason MBE said: "At Active Sussex we aim to inspire young people of all ages and abilities to develop a passion for sport and physical activity.
"The Parallel Youth Games gives young people the opportunity to be defined not by their disability, but instead by their inspirational achievements, and to celebrate ability in sport. It is also a fantastic day for everyone including young leaders and coordinators as it uses the power of sport to bring people together."
- Photos from the event are available on our Facebook page here.
- Find out more about the Sussex Parallel Youth Games here.
- Find out more about our Disability & Inclusion work here.
For corporate opportunities relating to school sport, including disability sport, please contact Ed Bartram, Active Sussex's Event Officer, E: email@example.com / T: 01273 644103.