Ade Adepitan, who is known to have favoured a shopping trolley over a wheelchair when he was younger for fear of being judged has now taken up an ambassador role with Youth Sport Direct to ensure other young people are aware of all sporting opportunities available to them. It marks a focus from the Youth Sport Trust and Youth Sport Direct to provide every young person irreverent of ability or disability with the same high quality opportunities in PE and school sport.
Speaking at the launch of the new introductory multi sport wheelchair, Adepitan said:
"It is not disability sport. It is just sport. This multi sport chair is going to help the integration of young disabled people and make them feel like an integral part of society from a young age. It's so important they're part of the team and able to express themselves. I think people will really see the benefits of this in 20-30 years time when people don't think twice about seeing someone with a disability in sport. If a young person wants to become a basketball player, it should be the same as if they want to become a politician. We need to play our part - and help schools to provide an inclusive opportunity in sport."
The official launch of the chair took place on Friday 12 February at Arbour Vale School in Slough, a Youth Sport Trust Wheelchair Hub School. It welcomed Wheelchair Basketball, the Tennis Foundation and Boccia England, who delivered sports sessions to young people, both able bodied and disabled. The purpose was to raise awareness of the opportunities available around inclusive sport, and increase its profile throughout the whole country.
Sue Campbell, Chair of the Youth Sport Trust commented: "Making sure we're doing everything we can to provide young people of all abilities and backgrounds with fantastic PE and a school sport experience from the youngest possible age is so important. The new multi sport wheelchair is a terrific way to help schools offer engaging and fun activities in their PE lessons to everyone. We're delighted to have Ade as an ambassador of the chair, and hope we can help provide PE teachers with a more inclusive offer in their schools."
The multi sport chair has been created in partnership with British manufacturer Roma Sport. It is receiving high praise in both the sport and educational sectors; receiving four stars by disability magazine Able and CEO of British Paralympic Association Tim Hollingsworth claiming the chair is "a high quality entry-level wheelchair that will help make a wide variety of sports accessible to young people."
The Best of British multi sport wheelchair is priced at £450 and is available in a range of sizes and colours. For more information visit the Youth Sport Direct website.