Ahead of Cardiff hosting the 2024 Wheelchair Fencing World Cup, local schools are being introduced to the sport and how activity can be made more accessible for anyone to take part, with sessions delivered to over 300 pupils across 10 schools in the local area.
Excitement for the competition has hit a high as children taking part in inclusive activity sessions have now been invited to attend the world-class experience and see the best athletes from across the world compete for Paris 2024 Paralympic qualification. Hoping to inspire the next generation to get involved with the sport and understand how sport can provide accessible and uplifting experiences for all, schools are learning about the art of sword play and a unique opportunity to try a sport seldom seen in the mainstream.
Llysfaen Primary School were amongst the lucky schools included in the initiative, receiving engaging taster sessions delivered by coaches from Welsh Fencing and British Fencing – and teacher Miss Rhiannon Parker highlighted the importance of children learning about the capacity of inclusive sport to change lives and ensure there are no barriers for anyone who wants to be active:
“I perhaps didn’t previously consider fencing as an inclusive sport, but it’s so important for young people to learn that all activity must include everyone. Our school had a pupil last year who was a fencer, so we never considered that people would compete in chairs.
“The theme we are following next term is ‘celebrating differences’ so attending the World Cup in January, and using the digital resource that we were given from British Fencing is beneficial to pull everything together – not only to experience live elite para sport but also engage and meet elements of the curriculum.
“We have all learnt a lot about how different people can take part in different ways. The pupils learnt about fencing as a sport, about safety with the weapons and masks, and they learnt respect with a handshake and a bow after they finished. It’s been so much fun for them – using the digital resource, we will learn even more in the new year before we come to the World Cup.
“After our taster session, all of the pupils are so excited to see athletes competing in January and supporting Great Britain!”
The Wheelchair Fencing World Cup will be the final European-based qualification fixture ahead of the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games, taking place on 11-14th January 2024. Looking forward to the important social impact of hosting the sporting event in Wales, Welsh fencing star Gemma Collis said:
“This is an incredible opportunity for us to showcase Wheelchair Fencing in the UK, and to hopefully attract new people to get involved in this incredible sport – whether that’s as an athlete, official, coach or volunteer.
“It’s not a sport I ever originally thought I’d end up getting involved in, but it’s been truly life-changing and I would love it if even a few more people could experience that off of the back of the World Cup in Cardiff.”
To find out more about the event, visit https://www.britishfencing.com/wheelchair-fencing-world-cup-2024/