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Aviva Parallel Success

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11 May 2009

As the outdoors season snaps into action countless competition took place across the country on the weekend of the 9-10 May, including the debut event from the unique Aviva Parallel Success initiative.

The Aviva Parallel Success London Challenge which took place at Perivale Park – the scene of the Middlesex County Championships- was the first competitive event of the year for the UKA talent programme which launched in January to identify and support talented disabled people to take up athletics for the first time.

Some success stories to come out of the first event pay testament to the original concept of structure, inclusion and raising standards:

17 year old Mark Watson (T35), who has only been in the sport for three months, competed in the 100m and finished 7th with 19.2 (0.0) a great effort from a budding new athlete.

With the elite athletes catered for in a high level 200m wheelchair line-up, Paralympic athlete Brian Alldis (T54) finished in 28.8 (-2.2). Just ahead of Paralympic 100m bronze medallist Mickey Bushell (T53) who crossed line in 28.4 (-2.2) persuing his Great Britain & Northern Ireland teammate all the way.

Steven Keeling’s (T37) 500mile round-trip from the North East to compete at the London event was well worth the effort as he finished first in the 200m discipline with 28.1.

Participation in the throwing events was noted to be an exceptional increase, no doubt thanks to the draw of competing alongside Greta Britain & Northern Ireland throwers Danny Nobbs (F54) and Daniel West (F34). The duo set the bar high in the seated shot competition, pushing the rest of the group to perform to their best.

Bethany Woodward (T37), recently included on the UKA lottery funding programme, continues to develop as a young athlete. She showcased her talents winning the 200m in 33.5. In the same race Eleanor Hubbert (T36) finished sixth, she was just one among many athletes at the competition who has been introduced to the sport by attending a talent introduction day by Parallel Success at UKA’s High Performance Centre at Lee Valley, London.  

Gina Smallwood (F58), who is new to the sport, impressed with her multi-event showcase across no less than three disciplines. She won the seated shot and took second place in the seated javelin and seated discus, quite an impressive start to the programme for the newcomer.

As Great Britain’s most eminent Paralympian Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson, the ambassador of Aviva Parallel Success, knows the significance of the step taken over the weekend and the impact it will have on disability athletics in the UK.

She said: “We had a fabulous day at the first Aviva Parallel Success event – the inclusion was just as we had hoped proving that the standards we had planned for the project are what is needed at these events.

“It’s a brilliant end to the London pilot which began in January and we are very excited about the national rollout, due to take place in September.”

There were other ringing endorsements from:

“Today was brilliant, I got a 200m PB and I knocked off 7 seconds from my last race which made me really happy.Thanks for letting me compete.” Vicki Bell (T34 /T53)

 “Congratulations to Marie (Yates, UKA Senior Coordinator – Disability & Policy) and all her team for putting on a superb event at Perivale and well done organising the weather.Looking forward to Crystal Palace in July” James and Stuart Fallas (T33/ T52)

“Just wanted to say thankyou for a wonderful day. We all as a family had a thoroughly good day, and Glenn was so pleased with his 100m time.Thankyou for giving him the opportunity to compete in this event.”Susan Scott

For more information on Aviva Parallel Success and future events visit: http://www.uka.org.uk/grassroots/parallel-success/