July 13th saw 48 talented young disabled athletes take part in the Oxfordshire County Athlete Assessment Day (CAAD) held atOxfordUniversity’s Iffley Road Sports Complex . The CAAD part of Playground to Podium, led by Sport England (in Partnership with the English Federation of Disability Sport), the Youth Sports Trust and Paralympics GB, helps to create a clear and professional disability sport pathway from school sport, through to club participation and on to elite performance.
The CAAD gave students the opportunity to take part in Athletics, Boccia, Football, Wheelchair Table Tennis and Basketball showing the sporting skills and talents which led them to be selected for the day. Coaches from the National Governing Bodies put them through a series of challenges which they were assessed and graded on according to their ability. Students are then signposted in the right direction to pursue sports at the level which matches their ability – Social, club or fast track level. The Table Tennis sessions highlighted the sporting talent at the CAAD, 15 students are going to be directed towards a club whilst 11 will be recommended for fast tracking.
As well as having the chance to develop their skills in a range of sports the students were also given an inspiration talk from GB Paralympian Jody Cundy, a multiple gold medalist at the Paralympics in two different sports Swimming and Cycling. He described his sporting journey from childhood to the present day talking through his Paralympic finals, showing his gold medals and road bike as well as conducting a question and answer session.
Parents were also told about the “Oxfordshire Sports Directory for people with a disability or impairment ”available online at www.oxfordshiresport.org/disabilitysport which tells you about sporting opportunities throughout the county as well as being told about the next stages after the assessment day.
James Craggs CAAD Manager and Disability & Inclusive Sports Officer for the Oxfordshire Sports Partnership said “ The students thoroughly enjoyed the day especially the chance to meet and speak to a GB Paralympians, they have come out of the day enthused wanting to develop their sporting skills even further”