The athletes, from across the south of England, attracted people aged 13 to 38 from different disability groups to the event, organised by ParalympicsGB. Top coaches from many of the Paralympic sports put the attendees through their paces to see if any of them could be fast-tracked onto an elite pathway for 2012, and beyond.
On hand to lend support and encouragement were three current Paralympic champions. Equestrian Sophie Christiansen, who has cerebral palsy, told the athletes who attended:
“Don't let anyone say you can't do it. If you put your heart and commitment into it, you can get there.“
Adaptive rower Tom Aggar, who has spinal injuries and who recently won the World Champion title, added: “The opportunities are out there.“
Penny Briscoe, Performance Director of ParalympicsGB, explained to the attendees that they should keep an open mind about the sports in which they may be eligible to compete.
Shooting gold medallist, Matt Skelhon, who received spinal injuries in an accident, began training just two years before clinching the title at Beijing. He advised: “If you're interested in a sport, find out how to compete, find the right coach and go for it.“
Talent trials were held in tennis, volleyball, shooting, athletics, fencing and wheelchair basketball and other sports.
Professor Ian Campbell, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Brunel University commented that he was delighted that Brunel University could host the event, “making the most of our world-class sports facilities and allowing potential paralympians of the future to be identified.“
Volunteers from Cadbury, one of the London 2012 partners were also on hand.
Notes to Editors
For further details, contact the Brunel University Press Office, tel: 01895 265585; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; British Paralympic Association tel: 020 7211 5222, press officer: Tash.Carpenter@paralympics.org.uk
Penny Briscoe and Sophie Christiansen at the welcome meeting for potential paralympic competitors, at Brunel University on Tuesday
Would-be London 2012 paralympic competitors being put through their paces in Brunel University's Indoor Athletics Centre
Shooting champion Matt Skelhon lending support for other hopefuls
Professor Ian Campbell of Brunel University and Penny Briscoe of ParalympicsGB at Paralympic Potential Day