Concord hosts its first WheelPower sports festival

"This is the first time we’ve come to anything like this, and it’s been absolutely amazing from start to finish. My four year-old daughter, Blaire, has been so excited and I’ve never seen her move so much!”

These are the words of Shauna, mum to Blaire from Sheffield who attended WheelPower’s first wheelchair sports festival of 2023 at Concord Sports Centre, the first time the event has been to Yorkshire.

On Wednesday 25 January, 36 disabled people aged from 5 to 65 attended the WheelPower Wheelchair Sports Festival and had the opportunity to try a variety of sports including badminton, boccia, golf, table tennis and wheelchair rugby league.

David Bly our sports programme and engagement manager said: “We were thrilled to host this inclusive event for the first time in Yorkshire.

“The reaction has been fantastic and the photos are evident just how much fun everybody had, it was inspiring to be there and see everyone have a go at sports they haven’t played before. “

These events bring together disabled members of the community, local coaches, and volunteers to enjoy sport, have fun and meet new people. For many this is their first introduction to wheelchair sport and an insight into the opportunities available in their local area.

Blaire’s mum Shauna continued: “Blaire can do everything here, have a go at all these sports and do it independently without asking me to come and takeover.

“I was actually crying earlier as I’ve never seen her like this before, and its lovely to see. She rarely sees other children in wheelchairs, so I think she could do it but never had the confidence to. Seeing everyone else has brought that out of her and she’s just rolled with it and got involved.”

The Kronik Warriors Adaptive Boxing Academy who offer adaptive boxing classes took part in the event and said: "What a fantastic morning we had at the Yorkshire Wheelchair Sports Festival as we introduced the participants to adaptive boxing and gave them all an exclusive look at the world’s first boxing wheelchair!

“Thank you so much for inviting us, WheelPower." Luiz Faye, Kronik Warriors.

David Bly ended; We look forward to continuing to work with WheelPower and offer similar events in the future.”

Emily Weller, head of sport and physical activity at WheelPower was delighted with how the event went, she said: “It has been a brilliant day all round and we are so grateful to our hosts the Sheffield City Trust, and to all the local clubs, coaches and volunteers who have all contributed to the success of this life changing day.

“To be able to bring our festival to local people is so important and by coming along today we hope it has given our participants the confidence to continue their sporting journey within their own communities. WheelPower continues to support disabled people to be more active at every level, and we look forward to returning to Yorkshire again in the future.”