Disability In Sport Week kicks off in Sheffield

A week of disability-focused sport kicks off today at Sheffield’s universities.

The Sheffield Hallam and University of Sheffield sports officers and committees are running a range of activities to raise awareness of the work that needs to be done to make campuses more inclusive for disabled students.

Leading athletes and professionals, including British Paralympian cyclist and former Hallam student Katie Toft, will be giving speeches to raise the profile of accessible sport for disabled students.

Taster sessions also kicked off this afternoon with a wheelchair rugby class. The event, led by Halifax Wheelchair Rugby League coach Andrew Atkinson, was aimed at students of all abilities.

“Some people might have just seen clips on the TV about sport but some might have never been in a wheelchair,” said Mr Atkinson.

“For us, even just to have two hours at Sheffield Uni is fantastic, because some of these people are going to go away with a different attitude to disabilities.”

One of the other goals of the campaign is to get more people interested in disabled sports. At present, wheelchair basketball and rugby league teams also allow able-bodied players to play too.

However, people with disabilities (43 per cent) are twice as likely as able-bodied people (21 per cent) to be physically inactive, according to a study by Sport England.