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Sussex Parallel Youth Games 2023

Paralympian opens this year's Sussex Parallel Youth Games

Triple paralympian Kylie Grimes MBE was one of two special guests at this year’s Sussex Parallel Youth Games.

The sportswoman, best known for her success in wheelchair rugby, was accompanied by partially-sighted swimmer Alfie Penfold, who lives in Sussex and is the current British Swimming and England 800m Freestyle -S13 record holder.

Organised by Active Sussex, the Sussex Parallel Youth Games is a mini-Paralympics, showcasing and celebrating disability sport in Sussex and is the only multi-sport participation event of its size for children with disabilities in the county.

This year around 400 pupils from 12 schools across Sussex took part at the event, held at the K2 in Crawley on Wednesday, May 17.

Paralympian Kylie said: “Disability sport is a lifeline for people. Not only is sport amazing for mental health, physical health, and wellbeing, but it also just makes you feel like you are part of something,  part of a community, which is absolutely massive.

“This event gives people a fun day out, which is always important, and you get to share experiences with team mates and create lifelong friends.”

Alfie added: “It is really nice to see people with disabilities engaging in activities like this and having a fun day and keeping fit as well.

“Physical activity was extremely important for me. I started out swimming just to learn how to not drown, but I enjoyed it so my parents kept giving me lessons and it was the only hobby I did for awhile. It kept me out of the house and it was a nice thing to do. I have only recently started the competitive side of it.”

Activities on the day included cricket, street soccer, tennis, climbing and bouldering, swimming, golf, dance, boccia, new age curling and, for the first time this year, table cricket.

Schools that took part included Grove Park, Muntham House School, Northease Manor, Woodlands Meed, Hill Park, Cornfield School, St Anthonys, Hamilton Lodge, Manor Green College, Oak Grove College, The Angmering School, and QE2.

Penny Gittins, who is in charge of PE at Woodlands Meed, a special school in Burgess Hill, said: “We have been coming here to the Parallel Youth Games for the last five or six years and it is absolutely inspiring.

“Some of our kids come from mainstream where they have not been able to access sport and this is a fantastic event where they can compete against other children of similar ability in a variety of areas, playing sport and doing really well. 

“It does wonders for their self-esteem, for their confidence, being part of a team and even just representing the school when many of their parents felt this was not something they would ever be able to do. 

“It is a fantastic opportunity for all our young people to go out there and show what they can do in a secure environment, where they feel happy and accepted and absolutely flourish. It really is the highlight of our sporting year.”

There were a number of organisations that helped make the event possible, including Everyone Active and the Sussex School Games Organisers. Also giving up their time and helping were Sussex Cricket, Albion in the Community, K2, Coach Core, Jackie Wood, Tennis Sussex, JOLF, Sussex County ASA, and leaders from Thomas Bennett, Oriel and Lewes Old Grammar School.

Active Sussex event organiser Ed Bartram said: “The Parallel Youth Games never fails to deliver as one of the highlights of the year, not only for the children taking part, but also for the staff and volunteers who make it all happen. I want to thank each and everyone one of them, and all of the schools and teachers who come along in such great spirit.

“From speaking to the schools, we know that it is an important opportunity for the children, and what a difference it can make to their lives. Whether it’s the start of a career in elite sport, or sparking their passion for physical activity, it’s a privilege to play a small part in that journey.”

Jon Hodgson, contract manager at K2 Crawley, said: “We are delighted to have supported this year’s Parallel Youth Games at K2 Crawley. 

“It’s always such a fantastic event and this year was no different – the centre was a hive of activity, and the day was a great success. 

“We even had one of our very own Sporting Champions, Alfie Penfold, attend as a special guest to meet and greet competitors – which was great to see. 

“We hope the activity will encourage young people with disabilities to get involved in sports at our centre. We offer a range of activities for all ages and abilities, and a welcoming environment for all.”

To see more pictures from the event click here.

Results:

Boccia

  1. Angmering
  2. Northease Manor
  3. Woodlands Meed

Tennis

  1. Muntham House
  2. Grove Park
  3. Oak Grove

Cricket

  1. Cornfield
  2. St Anthonys
  3. Oak Grove

Football

  1. Manor Green
  2. Cornfield
  3. Muntham House

New Age Kurling

  1. Angmering
  2. Hill Park
  3. Grove Park

Table Cricket

  1. Angmering
  2. Woodlands Meed
  3. Manor Green

Golf

  1. Woodlands Meed
  2. Mutham House
  3. St Anthonys
Sussex Parallel Youth Games 2023
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