Disabled athletes break down barriers

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Participants from a charity’s ‘Can Do Sport’ programme have taken part in this year’s Bishopbriggs Triathlon to break down barriers facing disabled people.

Young people with additional support needs took part in the gruelling annual triathlon event recently, which saw them swim, cycle and run.

The Leonard Cheshire in Scotland’s ‘Can Do Sport’ programme harnesses the potential of sport to tackle 
inactivity amongst young people with additional support needs.

The aim is also to improve their mental wellbeing, breaking down barriers to their participation in sport and making a real, positive difference to their lives.

The innovative programme is delivered thanks to a £10,000 grant from the Year of Young People National Lottery Fund to enable more than a hundred young people with additional support needs to access sport related volunteering opportunities.

Organisers of the Bishopbriggs Triathlon worked with Leonard Cheshire in Scotland to make the event fully accessible for young people with various additional support needs.

One of the participants completed the triathlon, months after returning from a successful trip to the Special Olympics in Dubai.

Darren Carruthers, who partakes as a Can Doer, was given the opportunity to travel to Dubai with his family for the 2019 Special Olympics World Games.

Taking part in three competitions, Darren finished fifth in the 1500 metres, fourth in the 4x100 metre relay and gained an excellent bronze medal for the 3000 metres. He achieved an impressive time of under an hour at the Bishopbriggs Triathlon, with his mum watching at the side.

Darren said: “I had a good day at Bishopbriggs Triathlon. I feel proud this is my biggest triathlon to date and I’m thinking if I train hard I might do the sprint one next year.

“Thanks to taking part in Leonard Cheshire in Scotland’s Can Do programme I’m now far more self-confident. I’m really happy I was able to compete in this today!”

Leonard’s James Allan, who manages the Can Do Sport programme, praised the triathlon participants.

He said: “We are so proud of them. They smashed it at the Bishopbriggs Triathlon.

“Disabled people face huge stigma but, as our youngsters have shown, we should never cap anyone’s ambition. To complete the gruelling physical challenge is a huge achievement in anyone’s book. Well done guys!”