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Racing thrills at FB Fields

Sport | Published:

A new, competitive and healthy sport on the way for Islanders with physical disabilities

Grant Monaghan with Frankie Monaghan (5), James Morant (Quest 88), Eliana Lazzarin (10) and Paul Greenwood line-up at the Jersey Athletics Track, FB Fields Picture: DAVID FERGUSON (21219778)

ISLANDERS with physical disabilities could soon have a new sport to choose from, following a first-ever ‘race running’ taster session at FB Fields.

Organised by Jersey Wanderers Frame Football coach Paul Greenwood, Tuesday’s open invitation provided children of varying levels of disability a chance to tear along the tartan track in St Clement, under the guidance of a UK frame company.

Quest 88, who have supplied frames for the States of Jersey’s Child Development Centre and Jersey Wanderers, brought specially adapted race runners over for the session.

Greenwood – whose daughter, Grace, qualified for the 2018 World Cerebral Palsy Games – said: ‘I went to an event in the UK and saw race running, and I also saw it at a CP Sport athletics meet. I thought “I really enjoy this sport”.

‘There are a lot of other sports for children, adolescents and adults with physical or learning disabilities, but the greater the choice on offer the greater the chance of finding something you like to do.

‘People like different sports, and all we’re trying to do with frame football and now race running is increase that choice.’

Greenwood hopes race runners will become a regular feature at FB, and he is on the lookout for further expansion in other sports.

‘Through CP Sport [UK charity Cerebral Palsy Sport] there are a number of adapted sports, so I’m looking at the things they do and I’m trying to find partner clubs and organisations here that are open to being more inclusive,’ he explained.

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‘We’ve got frame football through JTC Jersey Wanderers with the support of the Football Association, and here we’ve got Jersey Spartan AC coaches. It’s about getting people comfortable with the concept of being more inclusive and introducing disabled children and adults alongside mainstream athletes.

‘There are some children who come to the track in electric wheelchairs. They can have quite severe forms of disability but still take part in this sport. The frames have a support saddle and body plate, which are weight-bearing, and they can be adjusted depending on the ability of the child. It’s an extremely adaptive sport.’

Tina Caldeira, a physio at the Child Development Centre, said: ‘The biggest benefit is that it’s a fun activity and something that they can do that is close to average, mainstream physical activity. They can race against other children and have the freedom to move and run that they don’t have when they’re using walkers or their wheelchairs.

‘When they’re race running they’re able to use muscles that they don’t normally use, particularly children who’ve got very limited mobility, so this benefits them in other parts of their life as well.

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‘A lot of the children don’t get the opportunity to get their heart rate up, and for healthy hearts it’s really important that they get out of breath.

‘It’s not physio, it’s fun and it’s really good for their bodies.’

Staff from First Names Jersey have donated £1,430 to the cause, which will go towards buying the JSAC’s first race running frame.

Jason Fox

By Jason Fox
author

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