Talented youngsters light up stadium for national junior games

Youngsters enjoy a variety of sports at Stoke Mandeville Stadium during the 2013 Wheelpower Junior Games
Youngsters enjoy a variety of sports at Stoke Mandeville Stadium during the 2013 Wheelpower Junior Games

Disabled youngsters from all over the UK lit up Stoke Mandeville Stadium during a four-day festival of sport.

Almost 150 competitors, aged 11-18, flocked to the National Junior Games at the spiritual birthplace of the Paralympic movement to battle against each other in a host of different sports.

The games are run by WheelPower, the national charity for wheelchair sport, and supported by the Thomas Cook Children’s Charity.

“There has been a great atmosphere here with lots of new and lasting friendships being formed and lots of new skills being learnt,” said Stewart Jeeves, sports development officer for WheelPower.

“This is the biggest event in our calendar, and it’s been a huge success.

“Everyone has really got involved in all the sports available. For instance, the Zone Hockey final on Tuesday night had an audience of about 70 children crowded round the sides.”

During the four-day games, sports on show included wheelchair basketball, table tennis, table cricket, archery, powerchair football, field and track athletics, powerlifting, snooker, zone hockey and pool.

Inspirational youngsters came to Aylesbury from as far away as Cumbria, Blackpool and Plymouth.

A total of 15 schools and groups took part in the games and Ian Barham, the manager of Buckinghamshire Legacy, –the partnership set up to keep the Olympic and Paralympic spirit alive in the county – said it was a resounding success.

“I’m delighted these games have gone so well.

“Bucks is the spiritual birthplace of the Paralympics, and it’s fantastic to see this legacy still exists with young people travelling from all over the UK to play sport in our county.”

Professor Ludwig “Poppa” Guttmann established the Paralympic Games in Aylesbury and it was originally known as the Stoke Mandeville Games.