Lance Armstrong’s RadioShack Cycling Team are not the only team to have secured the services of Irish professional cyclist Philip Deignan, following confirmation this week that he has agreed to act as patron for a local sports project in his native county.
The Donegal man has confirmed that he will champion the Donegal Sports Inclusion Disability Programme which aims to promote sport and physical activity amongst adults and children with disabilities. Commenting this week Philip said “I’m delighted to be part of the SIDO project I believe that sport should be enjoyed by everyone at all levels and that disability shouldn’t be a barrier”.
The Sports Inclusion Disability Programme which was established in 2008 is a National initiative aimed at increasing participation and creating opportunities for peoples of all ages with disabilities in sport and recreational physical activity.
The Sports Inclusion Disability Programme project is managed in Donegal by Donegal Local Sports Partnership and nationally by the Irish Sports Council.
In Donegal the initiative has grown from strength to strength with many opportunities now available for people with disabilities within the sports community. A range of programmes now including martial arts for children with autism, wheelchair sports, yoga, tai-chi, gaelic games, powerchair football and bowling for adults with physical disabilities.
There is also quality training and education programme in place which aims to increase awareness and provide coaches, volunteers, teachers and those involved in the provision of sport the confidence to provide an inclusive sporting environment where everyone is welcomed irrespective of ability.
To date over 400 individuals have participated in sport as a result of the project and equal numbers have gone through the education and training element – far exceeding the initial target figures of the initiative.
The Sports Inclusion Disability Programme has also created a pathway for elite athletes with Karol Doherty of Inishowen having made the Paralympic panel for handcycling and now on his way to the Rowing World Championships having first tried handcycling and accessing information through the Sports Inclusion Disability Programme.
Thérèse Laverty SIDO (Sports Inclusion Disability Officer) with Donegal Sports Partnership said she was delighted to announce that Philip has confirmed his support for the project. “Hopefully having Philip champion the initiative will help to raise the profile of sport for people with disabilities not only in Donegal but throughout Ireland. I look forward to working with Philip and continuing to create opportunities for people of all abilities to participate in a sport of their choice at whatever level they wish. Also I’d like to take this opportunity to wish Philip all the best for the 2011 season with Team RadioShack we will be following the season with interest,” she said.
Philip Deignan & Therese Laverty
INFO Source – Therese Laverty – Sports Inclusion Disability Officer.
Contact – firstname.lastname@example.org