Inspirational Para Sport Festival returns to Swansea Bay this summer – with major Para Golf, Boccia, Deaf Football, Wheelchair Rugby, Para Fencing, and Target Shooting competitions, plus the free ‘Take Part’ insport Series event
The 2023 Para Sport Festival is a week-long, multi-sport and multi-venue event that will be held between Monday 10 – Sunday 16 July.
Designed to inspire and encourage people of all ages and abilities to participate in and spectate disability and para sport, last year’s inaugural Disability Sport Wales-organised and Welsh Government funded Para Sport Festival was a huge success, with organisations such as Wales Golf, Tennis Wales, the WRU, Welsh Gymnastics and the Welsh Wheelchair Basketball Association all reporting a big increase in enquiries immediately after the event.
Building on that success, the 2023 Para Sport Festival will be even bigger and better, with more national status tournaments and more opportunities to get involved – as a participant, volunteer or spectator.
The new-look 2023 Para Sport Festival will commence on Monday 10 July with the Welsh Para Golf Open, to be played at the wonderfully picturesque Langland Bay Golf Club.
One of the biggest participant days will be on Tuesday 11 July, when an insport Series event will take place at the Indoor Athletics Track at Swansea University (Singleton Park Campus). Last year over 200 people, many of whom had never tried sport before, took advantage of this free event to come and participate in over 20 different sports – each of which was delivered by local insport Clubs and National Governing Bodies, who also brought along qualified coaches.
The Indoor Athletics Track will once again be packed with different sporting activities to try, including indoor rowing, wheelchair rugby, gymnastics, table tennis and target shooting – with each participant receiving a fabulous goodie bag. The event is open to all ages and all abilities, and the venue is fully accessible. Registration beforehand is a must and can be done at: parasportfestival.co.uk.
Wednesday (12 July) and Thursday (13 July) hosts the Boccia UK Team Championships. This is a significant new tournament for Swansea, as local hero David Smith OBE – the triple Gold medal-winning Paralympian and world number one in Boccia – lives in Swansea Bay, a soft leather ball’s throw away from Singleton Park.
Friday (14 July) sees the British Para Fencing Championships and Welsh Para Open Target Shooting competitions get underway, as well as the Deaf Football International match between Wales and Scotland.
The Wheelchair Rugby Welsh Open takes place on Saturday (15 July), while the Para Fencing and Target Shooting competitions conclude on Sunday (16 July).
Saturday also sees the World Triathlon Para Series Swansea take place, with IRONMAN 70.3 Swansea concluding the week-long festival of sport on the Sunday.
Athletes attending the 2023 Para Sport Festival launch included Harrison Walsh (2022 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist), Kyron Bishop (Osprey Wheelchair Rugby player), Michael Jenkins (teenage para-athlete and rising star), James Ledger (visually impaired sprinter), and Beth Munro, who won a silver medal in taekwondo at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo, just two years after taking up the sport.
“I was proud to be at the launch of the very first Para Sport Festival last year and I’m delighted to be back in Swansea to help promote this year’s event,” says Beth.
“The 2022 Para Sport Festival was incredibly successful, both in terms of the high level of tournament competitions and how many people of all ages and ability came to try out sport for the very first time.
I went from attending a Disability Sport Wales insport Series event in North Wales for the first time, to being introduced to taekwondo and going on to win a silver medal at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo – all within the space of two years!
Dreams do come true, and nothing is impossible. And I have the medal to prove it!”
“I’m delighted that we’re able to support Disability Sport Wales in bringing this event back to Swansea and that the city will, once again, get a chance to demonstrate its expertise in successfully hosting a major para sport event – following on from last year’s successful event,” says Dawn Bowden, Welsh Government Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport
We’re delighted to welcome back this outstanding event as part of a world-class week of sport in Swansea,” enthused Robert Francis-Davies, Swansea Council cabinet member.
It promises to be a memorable and exciting few days for athletes, spectators, support teams, our local communities and those trying out some of the activities for the very first time.
We want to inspire local people to compete in sport and to enjoy it in other ways too.”
“From the outset, the aspirations for this Para Sport Festival are focused on developing a genuine legacy of both participation and competitive opportunities for disabled people in Swansea and beyond,” explains Robyn Wilkins, Disability Sport Wales Para Sport Festival Senior Officer.
“The opportunity to highlight the wide range of possibilities for disabled people in Wales will be supported through free spectator tickets to all the competitive events and live stream options, but it is not possible through these events alone to inspire disabled children, young people and adults into inclusive or para sport. We’re therefore pleased to announce that the Para Sport Festival events programme will also see the return of the SPAR insport Series event to highlight the range of inclusive grassroots opportunities to a greater audience. With over twenty sports on offer, delivered by a network of Welsh and British National Governing Bodies of Sport, and great local insport Clubs, the event will provide the perfect platform for individuals to find their own journey within inclusive physical activity.
“The Para Sport Festival as a whole is an excellent opportunity to showcase the first-class opportunities available in Swansea to a greater audience, and to give us a fantastic platform to continue to build over the initial three-year period.”
2023 Para Sport Festival – provisional timetable of events
To register to compete and/or volunteer at the Para Sport Festival, please go to: parasportfestival.co.uk.