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British representatives chosen to participate in Sochi Paralympic Torch Relay

on 27-02-2014 11:47

Four representatives of disability sport in the UK have been chosen to be torchbearers in the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Torch Relay and will travel to Russia in March this year to participate in the last days of the relay.

The four individuals represent different aspects of disability sport from elite, Paralympic sport to grassroots and school sport.

The BPA have two nominated places: one for a BPA representative, which will be BPA Chairman Tim Reddish; and one for a young disabled person who has been inspired by London 2012 and who has set an inspirational example to others.  This second place has been awarded to 20 year old student Andrew Norman, a School Ambassador and student at Valence School in Kent who regularly contributes to many areas of school sport and activities, wider community events, regional competitions and cultural performances.

Valence School is one of hundreds of schools that are part of Get Set, a programme delivered jointly by the BPA and BOA that provides resources to schools and uses the power and inspiration of the Olympic and Paralympic Games to educate and enthuse young people. Valence School was selected from the network for the honour of nominating a torchbearer due to their commitment to Get Set and their work with the Paralympic values.

In addition, the Buckinghamshire Legacy Board has given two nominated places to people who have contributed to local disability sport in the area. Wheelchair Basketball player Andy White has been involved in disability sport since he was young. He now plays and also volunteers as a coach for local club the Aylesbury Aces, as well as volunteering for wheelchair sport charity Wheelpower since 2010.

Andy White will be joined by young wheelchair fencing Paralympian Gemma Collis, who competed for ParalympicsGB at London 2012. Collis, 21 from Aston Clinton in Buckinghamshire, developed a rare condition when she was 15 which ended her ambitions in athletics and she took up fencing while at university. She went on to be selected for the GB team

BPA Chair and nominated torchbearer Tim Reddish said: “I am very pleased that we have such a great cross-section of involvement in disability sport in the four individuals that are going to represent this country in the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Torch Relay. Paralympic sport, grassroots sport and education are all important aspects of the work that is done by many organisations and people to support the development of disability sport so it’s great that there are people involved at all levels in the torch relay.

“The news about Stoke Mandeville’s ongoing role in future Torch events was fantastic and I am glad that as a result there are opportunities for several British people to participate in what will be a great build-up to the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Games.”

"I am honoured to have been nominated by WheelPower and also honoured to be selected to go." Andy White 

Nineteen year old Andy White said: “Being selected to go to Russia came as a bit of a shock but I am honoured to have been nominated by WheelPower and also honoured to be selected to go. It will be an experience I will never forget nor will I ever get to do it again.”

"I am delighted they will be representing us in Sochi." Carl Etholen

Legacy Board Chairman Carl Etholen said: “In Gemma and Andy, we have two fantastic ambassadors for Buckinghamshire. I am delighted they will be representing us in Sochi. Gemma is a Paralympian as well as a former Bucks Sport Young Leader Award winner and a youth sport trust athlete mentor. She is a role model for up and coming young athletes. Meanwhile, Andy is a well-respected volunteer at Stoke Mandeville helping to develop the junior basketball programme. So together, they make the perfect mix.”

Jo Eames is Director of Sport at Valence School. She said: “As a Get Set school we’re absolutely delighted to have been given the chance for one of our students to go out to Sochi and be part of the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.

"We’re looking forward to having a little bit of Sochi shared with the school through one of our students." Jo Eames 

“It was wholehearted decision that Andrew should be the one to represent the school. He has an ability to take in and share with the school and we’re looking forward to having a little bit of Sochi shared with the school through one of our students. Andrew is a positive young person that will embrace the whole experience and share it with the school in a inspiring way. Andrew is a positive role model and the students were thrilled to hear Andrew will be representing the school out in Sochi.”

All four torchbearers will be part of the Torch relay event in Russia in the build-up to the Games.

The UK will also play a new and exciting role in the lighting of the Paralympic Torch for the first time this year. In 2013 the IPC announced that Stoke Mandeville will play a role in all future Paralympic Games relays in recognition of Stoke Mandeville’s position as the birthplace of the Paralympic movement. As a result, there will be a Flame Festival event, held at Stoke Mandeville on March 1. More information on the Flame Festival will follow shortly. 

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