DAAUK Celebrate their Paralympians
Gerry Sutcliffe Minister for Sport celebrates the success of the DAAUK's Dwarf Athletes at the Beijing Paralympics.
Gerry Sutcliffe the Minister for Sport and many other VIPs from the World of Sport in the UK including representatives from British Swimming, UK Athletics, EFDS, DSE, The Gentlemen's Night Out, NFDC, Birmingham City Council and BBC Sport, came together for a very special night to celebrate the achievements of the DAAUK's Paralympic Athletes.
Matt Whorwood, Eleanor Simmonds, Kim Minett and Sophie Hancock were presented to the invited guests and answered questions from the floor. All the paralympians explained about how it felt to compete at such a momentous event as the Beijing Paralympics and how proud they were to represent Great Britain.
When asked about their inspiration, all the athletes had memories of how the DAA National Games and the competitors had inspired them in their early days. Eleanor Simmonds spoke of how she had seen Simone Cunliffe swim in the DAA Swimming Gala and had been inspired to join a local swimming club and from their go on to the DSE events and eventually to swim for Great Britain in World Championships and the Paralympics.
Matt Whorwood told the audience of how he looked up to Andrew Smith and was inspired to become the best he could in his chosen sport of swimming. Now a Paralympian medallist Matt can be sure he has achieved that level and will go on to more success in 2012. Matthew is now part of Bill Pye's training camp in Swansea and along with Eleanor is set to stand out at the next Paralympic games. Matt told of how the DAAUK provided him with confidence and encouragement to go ahead and excel in sport, he said "The DAA is the ground which we all stand on".
Kim Minett told us of memories of Athens in 2004 and of her experiences in the first ever World Dwarf Games in Chicago. She recalled how competing at this event with other young dwarf athletes had given the founder members of the DAA the inspiration to form the DAAUK and how it had gone from strength to strength, now producing World Class athletes whilst still providing grass roots support for young athletes and their families.
Sophie Hancock spoke about her experiences in Beijing expressing her absolute awe of the Birds Nest Stadium and the excitement of competing in front of 90,000 people. Sophie set a new European Record in the Shot Put and said how much it had meant for her to have qualified to compete in Beijing and how she hopes to be part of the GB team in 2012.
Potential paralympians of the future were then presented to the Minister and other VIP's including medallists from the Taipei IWAS games, the European Disabled Badminton Championships, and the Brtish Open Powerlifting Championships, other sports they excel at include Athletics, Badminton, Swimming and Table Tennis.
The MP for Sport Gerry Sutcliffe closed the evening’s celebrations and commended the whole of the DAAUK for their achievements and success in bringing families together and providing sport for those who might never have experienced it without the DAAUK. He congratulated the Paralympians and hoped to see them competing at the London 2012 Paralympic.