Perse pupils take on inclusive sports challenge to raise funds for Power2Inspire
14 Jun 2019
John Willis (right) with Year 8 pupils
From getting to grips with goalball to testing out table cricket, Year 8 pupils had the chance to experience inclusive sport thanks to Power2Inspire.
Power2Inspire is a charity that aims to make sport inclusive for disabled people and founder John Willis was joined by coaches from the organisation to lead youngsters in a carousel of Power House Games.
Besides goalball and table cricket, they also had fun trying out a number of other sports, largely designed for people with disabilities, such as New Age Kurling, sitting volleyball, floor lacrosse and boccia.
Mr Willis, who was born without fully formed arms and legs, set up Power2Inspire six years ago and famously completed all 34 Olympic and Paralympic sports in the build-up to the Rio Olympics in 2016 using specially adapted equipment. He held a workshop where pupils were invited to design their own equipment that he could use for similar challenges.
Pete Lauder gave an inspiring talk about how he bounced back from discovering he could no longer play his favourite sports of rugby, having represented the RAF, and squash in 2015 after an injury left him with no cartilage in his hips. He admitted feeling low for six months before an RAF colleague with a form of cerebral palsy suggested he give adaptive sports a go.
Sgt Lauder did just that and was selected to compete for Great Britain at the Warrior Games – an event organised by the US Department of Defense for wounded, injured and ill military and emergency services personnel and veterans – in Chicago in 2017. He took part in sitting volleyball archery and swimming, narrowly missing out on a medal after coming fourth in the 100m freestyle.
He told pupils how he had since set up the first adaptive sports club in the British forces at RAF Wyton and despite missing out on selection for the last Invictus Games, he is aiming to make the GB squad for the next Invictus tournament in The Hague in 2020, competing in sitting volleyball, wheelchair basketball and indoor rowing.
The inspiring stories of two other Warrior Games athletes were outlined by Sgt Lauder – runner Sarah Rudder, who lost most of one leg as a result of injuries sustained during the 9/11 search and rescue mission, and Israel del Toro, who suffered severe burns to 80% of his body and lost most of his fingers in an IED explosion in Afghanistan but bounced back and took up archery, using his mouth to pull back the string and a partner, known as a ‘spotter’ to help him guide the arrows on target. Based on this, Sgt Lauder rounded off his session with a challenge for pupils. In pairs, one closed their eyes and walked towards a target with a pen, while the other was the ‘spotter’, giving them directions to get as close to the bullseye as possible.
Pupils also raise almost £2,200 for Power2Inspire by taking part in a sponsored ‘inclusive kilometre’, with further funds set to be added to the overall total from a non-uniform day.
The idea behind the challenge was for the pairs participating to consider the effects of having an impairment. Some tied their legs together, others were guided while wearing blindfolded, or even crawled or hopped to complete the mission.
Charities Co-ordinator Emma Kenzie said: “Year 8 had a really good day and thoroughly enjoyed trying out inclusive sports as well as hearing from John and Pete. We’re also pleased that we have been able to raise so much for Power2Inspire.”