Disabled people urged to get involved in sport

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A DROP in the numbers of disabled people taking part in sport has prompted Suffolk’s Paralympians to speak out.

With less than 500 days to go until the London 2012 Paralympic Games, Sport England’s figures show that the number of disabled people who took part in sport in 2009/10 fell more than two per cent from the previous year – from 10.9 per cent to 8.4.

In contrast, figures for non-disabled people have risen in the same time by 1.7 per cent.

This has led to Suffolk Paralympians, including hand cyclist Brian Alldis from Bury St Edmunds, to urge disabled people to get active and for local groups to make the most of a rare opportunity.

Brian, who competed in wheelchair racing at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, said: “I know that people will be inspired to choose sport as a result of seeing the best disabled athletes in the world participating on home soil.

“I would encourage organisations across the county to plan how to capitalise on the inspiration the Games will provide and deliver a meaningful sporting legacy for the county.”

John Clough, director of Suffolk Sport, said the figures represented a ‘worrying trend’.

“Given that the cost to health services in Suffolk of physical inactivity is around £10 million per year, we must continue to try to make Suffolk a healthier, more physically active county,” he said.

There was more positive news for Bury’s Olympic involvement as a convention for visitors from Rwanda – whose Olympic team’s pre-training camp the town will be hosting next year – was confirmed for July 22 to 24.

The Rwanda Convention will take place at The Apex with more than 500 Rwandan expats living across the UK expected to turn up.