It was a fab day of sport, competition and achievement – a chance for children with physical disabilities to wear their school jerseys and colours at Cork’s Mardyke arena.
A first of it’s kind for Cork Primary school athletics: Para Athletic event for children with physical disabilities!
Organised by the Lúthchleasa Bhunscoileanna Chorcaí, Cork City Sports is a prestigious event every year, and this year was no exception with the addition of students with physical disabilities for the first time in the events’ 99 year history. The additional day event was hosted by Lúthchleasa Bhunscoileanna Chorcaí and Cork Sports Partnership in the Mardyke on April 27th. Primary school students with physical disabilities from across Cork city and county excitedly represented their school and show off their skill in front of their teachers, friends and family.
With over 50 primary school children from 17 schools throughout Cork city and county registered to participate, the event kicked off with a group warm up and lane orientation for some students, then the first of 13 categorised races for wheelchair users and runners commenced as spectators cheered each competitor on with banners and cheers of encouragement.
Cork Sports Partnership has worked closely with the Lúthchleasa Bhunscoileanna Chorcaí and the Primary schools athletics commitee to make this year’s pilot Para athletics event a success. Commenting on the successful day, Micheal O Draighneain – Chairperson Cork Primary School Sports stated “We would not have been able to have this event without the help & guidance of Cork Sports Partnership. They helped us with everything from grading races to event management. We hope this is only the start of this relationship.”
A participating school principal, remarked on how enjoyable the day was, while also being appreciative of the effort that was put in to organise the event.‘The pure joy and confidence it has given the children who were involved to be able to participate competitively with those of a similar ability was lovely to see. I know these events are no mean feat to put together. Thank you for your hard work and commitment from all in Scoil Mhuire, Ballyhooly.”
Cliona Horan, Sports Inclusion Disability Officer, said ‘we were delighted to bring a group of lead staff from disability services across Cork together to help design a quality and valuable programme. It is our goal, together with the disability service staff, to provide a safe, fun and enjoyable experience for all. We are proud to be able to roll this programme out with the support of all the leaders in the services and thank them for their support’.
The event was attended by both the Lord Mayor of Cork City, Cllr Deirdre Forde and, Lord Mayor of Cork County, Cllr Danny Collins. Both guests congratulated each athlete, met with the crowd of supporters and handed out prizes and medals to the competitors at the end of the event.
For more information on any of the of the inclusive programmes, please contact Sports Inclusion Disability Officer, Cliona firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.corksportsability.ie