We discuss competing as a Paralympic athlete in the London 2012 Paralympic games, working professionally and volunteering in the disability sports sector, and find out how disabled sport has developed in recent years in sports such as Goalball, Table Tennis and Football.
This episode is guest hosted by Steve McFadyen, who’s worked in disability sport development roles for Table Tennis England and the FA, and is the Special Olympics Table Tennis Coach. We’re also joined by Alex Bunney, who works as London Development Officer and Men’s Assistant Coach for Goalball UK.
We then discuss the highlights and challenges of competing as a Paralympic Athlete at London 2012 with Adam Knott, who competed for Great Britain in Goalball and now coaches at Winchester Goalball club.
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- Steve & Alex’s backgrounds working professionally in disability sport [0:39]
- Alex talks about developing and coaching Goalball [9:46]
- Steve’s exciting role as Special Olympics Table Tennis Coach for the Abu Dhabi World Games in 2019 [22:44]
- Adam discusses his experiences competing at the London 2012 Paralympics and coaching Winchester Goalball club [28:56]
“For me the best thing is that you see the impact of [working in disability sport], whereas in mainstream sport you often get negatives around it. It’s not easy to get things right but when you get a group of people together that might struggle to access sport but you find something that works and they go every week and love it – sport can be really powerful in that way and change people’s lives” [3:33]
“We’ve got a mantra at the minute; if we make someone aware of Goalball and give them an accessible opportunity, we can make them engage in regular physical activity… forget GB squads, if we make it accessible they will have a good time in the same way that non-disabled participants will, meeting new people, creating social interaction, that all sports can achieve.” (19:45)
“Goalball is still a small sport, it’s growing rapidly but usually you’d play in front of family and friends. At the Paralympics we played in front of 7500 people cheering the GB team, which was a surreal experience. On top of that we had the parade through the streets of London in front of millions of people, with many holding up signs that we couldn’t see!” [30:40]
Goalball UK – http://www.goalballuk.com/
Winchester Goalball Club – https://winchestergoalball.com/
Special Olympics – https://www.specialolympics.org/
Steve’s Special Olympics Table Tennis Blog – https://sogbtabletennis890725420.wordpress.com/