Stoke Mandeville National Junior Games 2019

Hannah Bailey
Stoke Mandeville National Junior Games 2019

On the morning of the 30th september, a small group of our PNI students and 4 of their Learning assistants made the journey to Stoke Mandeville Stadium to compete in the National Junior Games. Stoke Mandeville Stadium is the national centre for disability sport and was the birthplace of the Paralympics. The National junior games are hosted annually by Wheelpower, The national charity for wheelchair sport. They provide opportunities for disabled children to play a range of sports that aren’t accessible to them in mainstream school and to socialise with other students from across the country. Our BMS students were keen to try all of the activities available, and took part in games of Boccia, Wheelchair Basketball, Polybat and Zone Hockey as well as Wheelchair slalom, Rifle shooting, Fencing, Cue sports, Athletics and Archery. The students were thrilled to have a go at Hand cycling too until it started to rain! “I enjoyed Stoke Mandeville. I did Boccia, Polybat, Zone Hockey, Fencing, Shooting and Hand cycling. My favourite sport to play was Zone Hockey because I was the goalie. I really liked all of the activities because they are wheelchair friendly.  I loved the hand cycling too because I don’t have a bike at home.”- Oliver Jack Yr 10 The trip also provided the students with an opportunity to visit The National Paralympic Heritage Centre which celebrates the Paralympic Games, founded by professor Sir Ludwig Guttmann in 1948. It was lovely to see the students so engaged in learning about the history of the Paralympics as well as getting to see significant memorabilia from the games in person. Such memorabilia included the Paralympic torch from the games in London 2012.

“Stoke Mandeville was fun because we got to do a lot of different sports that we don’t normally get to do at school like Zone Hockey and Rifle shooting. My favourite part was the Slalom because I came second in both competitions. The burgers were great too!”

“I really liked Stoke because the sports where not hard like normal sports and I can have a chance to win and enjoy myself with my friends for a week. It was tiring too. My favorite was fencing. It made me forget about the struggles I go through.” -Zakir Miah Yr 10.

The penultimate event at the games each year is the Wednesday night Disco and it is a highly anticipated part of the Stoke Mandeville experience. Participants, Carers and Volunteers all come together on the last night of the games to celebrate their successes during the week and socialise one final time before returning to normality after the awards ceremony the following morning. It was one of many highlights of the week, with the Wheelpower team creating the most wonderful atmosphere. It was such a heartwarming and humbling moment to watch as this incredible group of young people came together to dance and laugh in spite of all the challenges they face daily.

“They played a couple of my favorite songs like YMCA and Happy by Pharrel Williams! I had a really good time dancing with people and wearing my glow sticks!”- Oliver Jack Yr 10

The tired cohort returned to school on Friday 4th October, having had a great week exploring all the different possibilities for young people with disabilities within sport.

Special thanks go to Ms Andrews, Ms Bailey, Ms Davies and Ms Smart for helping. The trip was a great success and a wonderful opportunity for the whole group!

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