London 2012 Paralympic medallists Will Bayley and Aaron McKibbin together with Kim Daybell and Ashley Facey-Thompson are among the GB athletes to compete at The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in celebration of the UK’s inaugural National Paralympic Day on Saturday (September 7th).
The National Paralympic Day marks the one-year anniversary of the London 2012 Paralympic Games and the GB Para Table Tennis team will take part by playing four matches against Brazil, hosts of Rio 2016, at the Copper Box Arena.
National Paralympic Day ambassador Will Bayley said: “National Paralympic Day is going to be something that our country just hasn’t seen before and I am so happy to be involved. The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is going to be absolutely buzzing with all of the sports and arts events going on and we’re expecting big crowds so the atmosphere should be brilliant.
“Playing for your country at any time is a massive achievement, you don’t get that feeling of pride through any other type of competition so I’m looking forward to getting out there to compete in front of what will hopefully be a really pumped-up crowd.
“One of the most important aspects of National Paralympic Day is the fact that people from all areas have the chance to come-and-try disability sports, wherever they are. Hopefully it will open the eyes of more people and by the end of the weekend we’ll have more people keen to take part in disability sport more regularly.”
The table tennis competition is one of four sporting disciplines taking place in the Copper Box Arena at The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London, alongside the Mayor of London’s Liberty festival for deaf and disabled arts and have-a-go sporting activities taking over the park on Saturday. The sporting action on The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park will take place in three sessions from 0930-2100 in The Copper Box. With table tennis featuring between 11am – 12:30pm.
National Paralympic Day celebrations are also taking place at sports clubs across the country who will be opening their doors to offer practice sessions to showcase their sport and deliver ‘come-and-try’ sessions so that local people can experience the sport for themselves.
Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, the 11-time gold medal winning Paralympian and BPA Patron, said: “London 2012 provided our country with a month of unbelievable sporting success and the introduction of the annual National Paralympic Day will only help to build on the great achievements of last summer.
“All the activity going on to celebrate the Day supports the message that Paralympic sports facilities are available for all and that it is taking place across the UK.”
Sports clubs and organisations across the country can get involved with the national celebrations by registering their details at The British Paralympic Association (BPA) grass-roots club signposting tool, Deloitte Parasport www.parasport.org.uk/npd. Clubs will then receive a ‘Club Toolkit’ containing advice on how they can advertise and promote their event.
Written by Francesca Bullock (September 6, 2013)