To mark the 200 days to go milestone tomorrow (Saturday February 11) to the London 2012 Paralympic Games, the British Paralympic Association today announced that it will give two tickets to the London Games to every retired Paralympian who has ever represented Great Britain at the Paralympic Games.
This unique offer to all previous athletes allows the BPA to recognise the incredible contribution they have made to British sporting success over the years and ensure that our current athletes will have even more support as they strive for success in the London. It also recognises the heritage that we have in this country around the Paralympic Games, the origins of which are traced back to Stoke Mandeville hospital in 1948.
Margaret Maughan, the first ever Briton to win a gold medal at the first Paralympic Games in 1960, expressed her support for the announcement: “I am so pleased that the BPA have given me and other Paralympians the opportunity to attend the Games in London next year. I am very proud to be a Paralympian and I hope that in London I will join many other supporters in cheering on the British team.”
Margaret was speaking she met fellow archer, Danielle Brown, who is hoping to compete in London. Danielle won Gold in Beijing and the two compared their experiences of how the Games had changed since Margaret had competed.
Danielle said “Sport is such an important part of my life and the Paralympics have grown to become the ultimate competition for disabled athletes. People like Margaret played an important role in establishing the Paralympic movement and I’m really pleased that the BPA is recognising this and inviting them along to support us at our home Games.”
The origin of the Paralympic Games can be traced to the first Stoke Mandeville Games in 1948 when injured WW11 veterans held the first disabled sport competition in archery.
Tim Hollingsworth, Chief Executive of the BPA said: “I am very proud to say that we will be looking after our retired Paralympians in London by providing them with two tickets to the Games free of charge. These athletes represented our nation and this offer goes some way towards celebrating their contribution to the history of the British Paralympic team. The BPA was only formed in 1989 meaning that our formal records don’t go back to the beginning of the Paralympic movement. So we are looking forward to making contact with all British Paralympians through this offer and welcoming them to London.”
Any retired athletes interested in signing up should visit the BPA’s Paralympians’ Club website at www.paralympiansclub.org.uk and register as a member. The form will then be distributed out to the members. Any retired athletes who would prefer to receive their form by post should call the BPA on 0207 842 5789.
The BPA will make every effort to provide retired Paralympians with tickets to see the sports that they originally competed in. Winter sports and sports that are no longer included in the Paralympic programme will be allocated either a day pass or tickets to a similar sport. Athletes who have competed in multiple events will be able to indicate their preferred sport to see, and the BPA will endeavour to fulfil their request.
The scheme will not include athletes who are still competing and who may be selected for London, as all selected athletes will receive four tickets free of charge for their friends and family courtesy of P&G’s Nearest and Dearest programme.