(Photo: Keith Jones).
Students at Long Road Sixth Form College in Cambridge have been trying out wheelchair basketball and blind football as part of their studies.
The taster sessions were organised by the Level 3 Sport Diploma students as part of their coursework research.
Four teams of students were recruited from the school to try out each sport, learn some skills and take on each other in competitive matches.
Tom Barrett, Toby Hardwick, Ashley Jones and Luke Mitchell invited Gordon Perry, founder of the Wheelchair Basketball Experience, to show them how the sport is played.
Gordon is a British wheelchair athlete who won the inaugural London Marathon wheelchair race in 1983.
He had a long wheelchair racing career and was a member of the British national team in the early 1980s.
The four students also wanted to research blind football, so that they could help coach the sport to other students on the college’s astroturf.
Chris Cope, Head of Sport, PE and Health & Social Care said: “This is an excellent example of a fun and worthwhile activity.
“The college places much emphasis on equality and diversity, and these four students have taken this into consideration when organising this event.
“Ashley, Luke, Toby and Tom are all doing very well on their courses, and this event will contribute to the extremely high grades they are predicted.”
The four students explained that the whole experience had been a welcome challenge and taught them valuable lessons about disability sport.
Toby, 17, said: “Organising this event showed me that sports for people with disabilities are not just alternatives to the able-bodied versions, but exciting, challenging, demanding and highly-skilled in their own right.
“We developed new skills and would love to be able to play wheelchair basketball again in addition to the other sports we play.”
Luke, 18, added: “It was a real eye-opener as able-bodied people have a preconceived idea of what sport for disabled people is like – we learned that it’s every bit as challenging and exciting as sport for able-bodied people.”
And Ashley, 18, said: “It gave us some excellent insights into the challenges faced every day by people with disabilities, but the positive ways they can overcome these challenges.”