Crawley host thrilling ‘mini-Paralympics’

Sussex Parallel Youth Games
Sussex Parallel Youth Games

A Crawley school and one from Horsham were among 15 taking part in the Sussex Parallel Youth Games at the K2.

The thrilling, ‘mini-Paralympics’, in its 14th year, took place at the state-of-the-art competition venue operated by Everyone Active, on Wednesday May 15.

More than 400 children, from 15 schools across the county, including Manor Green, in Lady Margaret Road, Crawley, enjoyed the prestigious occasion, taking part in a range of sports from bouldering and climbing to new age kurling.

Athletes were cheered on by GB rower Charles Cousins, the 30-year-old London Olympian and double World Championships medallist.

The Sussex Parallel Youth Games was organised by Active Sussex, the local charity which helps people most in need across Sussex by working collaboratively to change lives for the better through physical activity and sport, with support from event sponsor Everyone Active and Sussex School Games Organisers.

Active Sussex says it is the only event of its size for disabled children in the county.

A fun, non-competitive, disability sporting event is created for local children, aged from 10-18 years, to try out sports and learn new skills such as teamwork and leadership.

This year, for the first time, the Sussex Parallel Youth Games is part of the Specsavers School Games programme.

Students from Angmering School (West Sussex), Chailey Heritage School (East Sussex), Glyne Gap (Bexhill-on-Sea), Grove Park (Crowborough), Hamilton Lodge (Brighton), Hill Park School (Brighton), Manor Green (Crawley), Muntham House (Horsham), Northease Manor (East Sussex), Oak Grove (Worthing), Saxon Mount School (East Sussex), St Anthonys (Chichester), St Pauls Catholic College (West Sussex), St Marys (Bexhill-on-Sea) and Woodlands Meed (West Sussex) took part.

The inspirational athletes participated in various sports including swimming, boccia, cricket and street soccer and there was also the opportunity to attend a dance workshop and perform at the special and moving closing ceremony too where top three schools in each event were then presented with medals.

Also more than 100 young leaders aged 13-18 also helped out on the day, assisting with the running of sports such as tennis and swimming, coordinating dance routines and providing logistical support.

All young leaders are given disability awareness training and some plan to go on to study PE and to use these skills directly in the future.

Active Sussex said: “This event would not be possible without the generous donations made by guests at the annual Sussex Sports Awards, hosted by Active Sussex, and also other kind donations made by Everyone Active, Specsavers and Claims.co.uk.”

Active Sussex Chief Executive Sadie Mason MBE, speaking about the annual inspiring event, said: “At Active Sussex we aim to inspire young people of all ages and abilities to develop a passion for sport and physical activity.

“The Parallel Youth Games gives young people the opportunity to be defined not by their disability, but instead by their inspirational achievements, and to celebrate ability in sport. It is also a fantastic day for everyone including young leaders and co-ordinators as it uses the power of sport to bring people together.”

By Ruth Dacey