If the insport programme run by Disability Sport Wales needed some poster athletes to promote their success, they could do worse than point to Beth Munro and Harrison Walsh.
Both Paralympic athletes in their own spheres – Munro in taekwondo and Walsh in athletics – they were introduced to sporting opportunities for disabled people through the inclusive approach offered by insport.
But the programme is about far more than unearthing the next elite Welsh disabled athlete to compete on the world stage.
It is fundamentally about broadening opportunity for all groups and ages through inclusivity. The concept being inclusion + sport = insport.
There are several strands to the insport programme, with Disability Sport Wales (DSW) providing expertise and guidance to help clubs, sport’s national governing bodies, as well as partner organisations such as the Urdd, Local Authorities, and Community Interest/Benefit Companies to develop an inclusive approach to sport and physical activity so that disabled people can take part in sports in a way that suits them.
But perhaps the most visible aspect of the insport programme, since it began in 2012, are the insport series events that are arranged to give disabled people tasters of different sports so that they can see what’s available, and hopefully, enjoyable.
Those who attend could be potential world-beaters such as Munro (although she didn’t know it before she rocked up for a session) or more often people looking for some fun through sport.
With the support of AF Blakemore (SPAR), DSW co-ordinate 15 insport series events across Wales annually, with the aim of attracting thousands of disabled people to try out new sports for the very first time.
Recent examples of insport series events include the delivery of a powerchair football event, for the first time in Wales, alongside the Cardiff City FC Foundation. DSW also hosted three wheelchair-sport-focused insport series events within the Gwent, North and Mid Wales regions in partnership with WhizzKidz.
Over 70 participants attended overall and the events highlighted the opportunities available within each local community. Sports on offer included wheelchair rugby, wheelchair rugby league, powerchair football, wheelchair tennis and boccia.