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Thursday, 29 April 2010
Year 11 pupil James Roberts has gone from strength to
strength with his involvement in Disability Sports. In his own
words, James talks of how he became involved and how his role has
led him to represent his country at football with a place in the
England CP Development Squad.
My name is James Roberts, I am 15 years old and I am a pupil at
Bolton School. I was born with Cerebral Palsy (CP). CP is a
permanent disorder which affects a person's movement and activity.
I am lucky in that my CP only affects my left side and does not
affect my speech or cognitive development. My type of CP is a
hemiplegia, and results in my left arm and leg being affected, and
sometimes this can make it difficult to do normal activities.
Sport, especially football, has always been a passion of mine.
Unfortunately, my disability has hindered my participation in
able-bodied sport teams at school. With the aid of Trevor Pledger,
the former Director of Sport at Bolton School, we tried to find a
way to overcome this. Over the past year or so he has introduced
and kept me updated with the progression of disability sport.
My first experience of Disability Sport was the Talent ID day
for the Paralympics. This was held in Sheffield on the
29th January 2009. Here, a vast variety of sports
were on offer, many of which I had never tried before such as
shooting and archery. Here, I also was given the opportunity to
meet new people with a variety of disabilities. The day itself was
thoroughly enjoyable, in particular meeting many Paralympians who
had represented Great Britain in Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004.
The talent ID day opened many links with Disability Sport. I was
informed of the Parasport Website. I was soon attending various
events organised in the locality, including a regional athletics
event at the Manchester Stadium. From my performance at this event
I was asked to represent the North West disabled athletics team in
Blackpool on 4th July 2009, where the team went on to
win overall the national championship!
Although I enjoyed the athletics, and the opportunities the
talent ID days gave me to try out many different sports, football
was my passion. With the help again of Trevor Pledger, and his
communications with the disability football coach Adam Temple, I
was invited to the Manchester United Foundation training ground for
trials to play for the Manchester FA Centre of Excellence. After
succeeding in the trials, I was privileged and delighted to be
invited to the Cliff Training ground in Salford to attend weekly
training. I have been going ever since early 2009, sometimes
playing competitive matches against neighbouring regions and
In March 2010, I attended the ISFA Leadership and Volunteering
Programme and spent the weekend in Eastbourne. This was not a
disability event, rather, an independent schools event. I enjoyed
the weekend very much. From the event I learned, amongst other
things the game and rules of Futsal. This is a game I hope to
introduce and manage as a lunchtime activity for year 8 pupils next
year. With the help of the staff at school it is hoped that I could
arrange training sessions for year 8 boys and develop a tournament
to raise funds for charity.
My involvement in disability football progressed and I have
recently been invited to join the England CP Development Squad. I
am to attend my first weekend of training on
7th-9th of May 2010 at Lilleshall,
Shropshire. I am looking forward to this and feel honoured that
Adam Temple, my head coach at the Manchester FA Centre of
Excellence has put me forward for such a prestigious position.
I personally feel there is a dynamic future for disability
sport. Although I understand that disability sport in general has
less public awareness than able bodied sports, I truly believe that
with more leaders in the field and greater communication it can
become as renowned as many of the able bodied sporting institutions
of our country.
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