Guest blog by Francis Edwards

Remember the Olympic and Paralympic successes of 2012 in London?

Well Leeds has also gone sports mad!

Hi there, my name is Francis Edwards, I’m 17 and use a wheelchair. After watching the World Cup and going down to the Paralympics I wanted to start playing sport instead of just watching it. I’m pleased to say that the Disability Sports Camps which ran this summer holiday across Leeds gave me the opportunity to do just that.

I went to the Morley and Middleton leisure centres along with both girls and boys ranging in age from 9 to 17, some on their own and some with their carers or parents, all of whom could join in if they wanted.

We played basketball, rugby, tennis and goalball. All these games had to be adapted to suit our group and the coaches were great at making sure we were all included no matter what our disability. Some games, though, still proved tricky. For instance, the joy stick on my wheelchair is on the right hand side and as I am right handed I ended up hitting myself in the face more than once even though they had used wheelchair height nets for me!

During the basketball session everyone sat on a chair to practice their bounce, pass and overarm throws so that we were all equal and they could have a feel of what it is like to be a wheelchair basketball player. At the Middleton session the coaches arranged for me to referee a match played by all the others who don’t use a wheelchair. It was difficult as I’m not fully familiar with the rules of basketball and so became a bit “whistlehappy” which amused everyone.

I think that the coaches did a really good job at including us all. It must be very difficult for them when we all have different abilities, and disabilities that require various adaptations to make sure we can all get included in playing sport.

If you’re interested in sport, have any disability, and want to take part, rather than just watching it on TV as I used to do, then these sports camps are the place to be. This is the fourth holiday that I’ve taken part in the Disability Sports Camp and its always welcoming and entertaining. I’d give it a go at half term if I were you!

 

For more information about how to get involved go to www.leeds.gov.uk/disabilitysport

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