The 13th annual Parallel Youth Games took place at K2 Crawley, operated by Freedom Leisure on behalf of Crawley Borough Council, on Wednesday 23rd May. The event, organised by Active Sussex with support from Freedom Leisure and Crawley Borough Council, saw 450 children trying out a range of sports from street soccer to golf!
The Parallel Youth Games is the only event of its size for disabled children in Sussex and provides a non-competitive mini-Paralympics experience for local children to try out sports and learn new skills such as teamwork and leadership. Among the sports on offer were climbing, swimming, dance, tennis, cricket and boccia!
Crawley-based Paralympic Cycling gold medallist and double World Champion Katie-George Dunlevy was on hand to introduce the event and noted the importance of events like this one to show children and young people that a future in sport is possible, she said: “The opportunities that I was given as a child were the start of my journey that led me to where I am today. Days like the Parallel Youth Games show how sport can be a powerful tool for young people to build their confidence and their skills. I hope that other counties will follow Sussex’s lead in the future and organise events such as this one for children with disabilities.”
More than 70 young leaders aged 13-18 also helped out on the day, assisting with the running of sports such as tennis and swimming, coordinating dance routines and provide logistical support. All young leaders are given disability awareness training and some there planned to go on to study PE and to use these skills directly in the future.
This event would not be possible without the kind donations made by guests at our annual Sussex Sports Awards and by Crawley Borough Council. Councillor Chris Mullins, Cabinet member for Wellbeing at Crawley Borough Council attended the event on behalf of the council. He said: “I always have this excellent event at K2 Crawley in my diary. It’s a great opportunity for children with disabilities to build their confidence while trying out new sports and activities.
“Having a sports star like Katie-George Dunlevy to introduce the event is a great example to the young people and shows them that the sky’s the limit!”
Freedom Leisure provided their state-of-the-art Olympic training venue K2 Crawley for the event, which provided the perfect backdrop for sports on offer.
Managing Director of Freedom Leisure, Ivan Horsfall-Turner said: “We are pleased to host the 2018 Parallel Youth Games at K2 Crawley again this year as these inspirational games truly showcase disability sport at its best, and we are proud that the extensive facilities at the centre provide a stage for these children to compete like any other.
“Supporting active communities and increased participation in sport is at the heart of everything Freedom Leisure does, so we are also delighted that our own Active Communities team plays a crucial part in delivering the event, while our strong partnership with Crawley Borough Council means that K2 Crawley is more than just the games’ venue – it is its home!”
With another successful event done and dusted, we’re already looking forward to the 2019 Parallel Youth Games and to welcoming back hundreds of smiling children giving sport and physical activity a go! Speaking about the annual event, Active Sussex Chief Executive Sadie Mason MBE said: “At Active Sussex we aim to inspire young people of all ages and abilities to develop a passion for sport and physical activity. The Parallel Youth Games is fantastic day for competitors, young leaders and coordinators alike as it uses the power of sport to bring people together.”
Find out more: www.activesussex.org/