Sports boost for paralympic future

YOUNGSTERS from across North Lanarkshire got the chance to try different sports at the annual Paralympic Pathway Festival.

The event, which was held in Ravenscraig Regional Sports Facility last week, encourages children and young people with a visual impairment or physical disability to try a new sport and perhaps join a club or an activity session.

More than 80 school children, including 18 from mainstream schools in the area, got involved in sports including football, badminton, athletics, basketball, table tennis, judo and boccia.

Athletes Marcus Anderson and Mark Stewart, from Our Lady’s High School in Cumbernauld took part in the event

Kathleen MacKay, active schools coordinator said: “The event provides an opportunity for talented pupils to be spotted and they can then be advised of possible pathways within sports for them.

“Pupils who have taken part in previous years have gone on to be selected for regional and national sports squads.”

Five Scottish Paralympians also attended the festival and gave coaching tips to the youngsters taking part including Bellshill pair Stephen McGuire and Peter McGuire who play boccia, team GB football captain Jonathan Paterson from Motherwell, Bo’ness tennis player Kevin Simpson and swimmer Mhairi Love originally from Larkhall.

Councillor Jim Logue, convener of learning and leisure services, said: “It was brilliant to see the enthusiasm and skill shown by the kids taking part.

“It was truly inspiring and provided a great opportunity for the pupils to enjoy taking part in sport, develop new talents and build friendships.”

The festival was organised by the NLC’s active schools team and Scottish Disability Sport.

SPORTS FUN: Our Lady’s High pupils Marcus Anderson (pictured back row, left) and Mark Stewart (front, third from left) took part in the event. They are pictured with other North Lanarkshire 
pupils and active schools coordinators Emma Lafferty and Kathleen McKay, and Councillor Jim Logue.