Athletes help Merton celebrate Beijing’s Paralympic Handover

To celebrate the Paralympic Games handover from Beijing to London on the 17 September Merton Council, in partnership with GLL (the company which manages Merton’s leisure centres), will host a one-day event for residents of Merton living with a disability.

Special guests at the event will include British Disabled Ski Team member and Vancouver 2010 Paralympic hopeful Tim Farr and international wheelchair racer Tushar Patel. Joining them will be Mayor of Merton Councillor Martin Whelton and Leader of the Council, Councillor David Williams.

The two sessions, 9.30am – 12.00 noon and 1.00pm – 3.30pm, will include swimming, the bowls-like game boccia, football and much more. Throughout the day, disability officers from premier league football clubs, Fulham and Chelsea will be on hand to offer their coaching expertise and advice on mastering the beautiful game. Visitors will also be able to have a go at basketball and a range of tabletop games.

Members from Volunteer Centre Merton will be giving up their time to make sure the day runs smoothly.

Merton Council Cabinet Member for community services Councillor Maurice Groves said: “This exciting occasion really does open up sports to people with disabilities and demonstrates that perceived barriers can be overcome. We are privileged that Tim and Tushar can be here to help us celebrate the handover of the Paralympic Games. They are living proof that through determination and hard work, difficulties can be overcome and success and fulfilment magnificently achieved.”

Councillor Martin Whelton said: “Celebrating the Paralympic Handover is important as people with disabilities will have the opportunity to find out that sport really is a discipline that can be enjoyed by all at every level. It is also great that Volunteer Centre Merton has got involved, as volunteering is going to play a major part in the Olympiad events leading up to the Games as well as during the Games themselves.”

Managing Director of GLL Mark Sesnan, said: “Projects like this is what the Paralympics is all about. We want everyone to have the opportunity to fulfil their sporting ambition, whether that is to just enjoy sport at a local level, or to be an elite athletes like Tim and Tushar. The sky is the limit.”