Potential Paralympians Given Chance To Shine

Tue, 2001-01-30 00:00

37 youngsters from across County Durham got to try wheelchair basketball, table tennis and football on Thursday 23 June at East Durham College, Peterlee, with representatives from National Governing Bodies on hand to spot potential Paralympic talent.

The County Athlete Assessment Day forms part of the national Playground to Podium programme, led by Sport England in partnership with the English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS), the Youth Sport Trust (YST) and Paralympics GB, which helps to create a clear and professional disability sport pathway from school sport through to club participation and onto elite performance.

Paralympic silver medallist Mark Eccleston was also on hand to inspire the youngsters by discussing his experiences, and local hero Lyndon Longhorne was there to answer questions from young people about his journey along the Paralympic pathway.

Ben Williams, Executive Director of County Durham Sport, said: "The Playground to Podium scheme is a great opportunity for young disabled people from across County Durham to show their talent. Thanks to all our partners in the successful delivery of this event and the programme as a whole and hopefully we'll be spotting some of the talent here today in future Paralympic Games."

Lindsey Robinson, FA Women, Girls and Disability Football Development Officer, said: "The scheme continues to give us opportunities to see pupils from County Durham who could potentially follow the Playground to Podium pathway. Lyndon, who was here today, is a great example of what young people from the area can achieve at the highest level."

Mark Eccleston said: "The earlier that we can identify the talent the better. Then we can get them into the system so hopefully in years to come the athletes will go on and achieve great things."

Lyndon Longhorne said: "If you get it early then you've got a chance to progress in life with that sport and not let anyone get in the way."