Blackpool welcomes young Paralympic hopefuls

24 June 2009
by Sarah Marl
The listing was posted by Disability Sport Events

Nearly 500 disabled athletes go for gold

Disability Sport Events (DSE) are holding the Nationwide Junior Athletics Championships at Stanley Park Stadium, Blackpool on the 4-5 July.  Nationwide Building Society, Spinal Injuries Association, Lions Club International and Blackpool Council are supporting the event where young Paralympic hopefuls will compete.  Nearly 500 athletes from all Home Countries will compete at the event, including Beijing Paralympians.

This event provides 12-20 year olds with a chance to compete amongst their peers in a full track and field programme. Spectators will have the opportunity to watch up and coming stars such as field athlete Hollie Arnold from Holton Le Clay and track athlete Ian Jones from Manchester.  Both competed in last year’s Paralympic Games and Ian took home two bronze medals in the international T44 class 200m and 400m.  Successful Paralympic athletes, such as Blackpool local girl Shelly Woods have come through the DSE junior programme so all eyes will be on Stanley Park to spot future talent.

Hollie Arnold was elated when she was selected for Beijing.  At 14 years old, Arnold had impressed selectors so much in her favourite discipline- the javelin- that her dream of competing in the Paralympics was reached in a short time.  The Yorkshire athlete who is an arm amputee began her sporting career at this very event so is happy to return to a favourite stadium. Now 15, she says:
“Competing in Beijing gave me the confidence to throw in any competition against any age group, because if you can throw in front of a crowd of 90,000 you can throw in front of anyone! I enjoy meeting up with the people from DSE and competitors, who I have made long lasting friendships with over the years. Without DSE competitions I would not have been recognised for my talent in athletics”.

Daniel Lucker is a young star to watch.  The 16 year old from Abergavenny won the Nationwide Rising Star Award in 2008, for his outstanding potential in athletics.  He won the London Mini Wheelchair Marathon this year in a new course record and is looking forward to the event. He comments:
“I am hoping to better my personal best times and set some new national records. I enjoy this event as it brings together all juniors from across the country. There is a real sense of team spirit with everyone competing for their regions. This is the only competition that does this. It’s good for me to see who is about and how they have progressed from the previous year”.

Both Hollie and Daniel will be off to Switzerland the week after this event to compete at the IWAS World Junior Championships.

Gordon Neale, Director of Events for DSE, said: “Through the support of our many partners, we are able to host a variety of events throughout the year for people with all abilities, whether they are just starting to learn a sport or going for gold at the Paralympics.  Without the dedication of our sponsors and volunteers- our events just wouldn’t happen.”

Maxine Taylor, Nationwide’s Divisional Director for Corporate Affairs, said: “Nationwide Building Society is very proud to support DSE and all the athletes who compete at these events throughout the UK.  We hope our sponsorship will enable more disabled athletes to take part in these events and that they continue to break records, both personally and internationally.”

Other partners assisting the championships are Water Direct and Stanley Park Stadium.
It is free for spectators. Further information about DSE and the winners from this event is available via

Media information:
Sarah Marl, Disability Sport Events, , 0161 953 2438
Zoe Stevens, Nationwide Building Society, ,
01793 655423
For more information about DSE and Nationwide please visit and

Notes to editors:

Disability Sport Events
• Disability Sport Events (DSE) are renowned worldwide in a variety of sports.
• They organise regional, national and international championships in a variety of sports, providing pathways to further success.
• DSE are the events division of the English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS) – the umbrella organisation responsible for co-ordinating sport and physical activity for disabled people in England.

Nationwide Building Society
• Nationwide are the world’s largest building society and is the UK’s second largest mortgage and savings provider, with over 13 million members.
• Nationwide are a long term sponsor of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland national football teams, and supports women’s football, the fastest growing sport in the UK for women.
• In November 2005 Nationwide Building Society announced its sponsorship of DSE in a deal worth £1 million over seven years, following five successful years of partnership.  The sponsorship by Nationwide will help DSE to encourage participation from regional to international level, to identify talented individuals and to make team selections, which are vital components for a successful Paralympics.

Spinal Injuries Association
• Established in 1973, SIA is a dynamic, user-led, charity providing lifelong support to more than 40,000 people throughout the UK living with spinal cord injury (SCI).
• With the core ethos that ‘life needn’t stop when you’re paralysed’, SIA is constantly and proactively developing its service provision and actively shuns pathos in its mission to demonstrate that, while initially devastating, SCI need not be a bar to a full, active and independent life.
• Full guidelines and an application form for Rebuilding Lives Through Sport (RLTS) are available at: and anyone wishing to find out more is encouraged to phone: 0845 678 6633

Lions Club International 105BN
• Lions Club International is the largest voluntary organisation in the world, with 1.3 million members in 202 countries. There are around 18,000 members in the British Isles and Ireland in over 900 Clubs, whose primary purpose is to serve those in need.
• 105BN has a long history of supporting this event in Blackpool and have been volunteering for over twenty years at the Junior Athletics.