International athletics comes to Manchester
Monday 09 June 2008
Mencap Sport is to host its second international competition in June, when the INAS Open European Athletic Championships, for athletes with a learning disability, take place in Manchester.
More than 150 athletes from 15 countries across the world are expected to compete at the event. The championships will also incorporate the 11th Annual National Championships, giving young up-and-coming athletes a chance to compete alongside their elite role models.
Nick Parr, National Sport Manager at Mencap explained "This is the largest international athletics event for people with a learning disability to be hosted in the UK. It's a great advert for learning disability sport, and a great opportunity to build links with schools, clubs and volunteers across the Northwest area".
Councillor Mike Amesbury, Manchester City Council's Executive Member for Arts and Leisure, said "Manchester is proud of its history of supporting Disability Athletics and this event is a fantastic opportunity for Manchester residents to become inspired by some of the world's finest athletes with learning disabilities".
"Manchester World Sport 08, Manchester's world class year of sport, continues to profile outstanding sporting events underpinned by lasting legacy programmes designed to maximise participation in sport from all sections of the community."
Dame Kelly Holmes, comments: "I wish all the athletes competing in the INAS Open European Athletics Championships in Manchester the very best of luck. The event is a great platform for learning disability sport and a great opportunity for athletes with a learning disability to compete at an elite level".
The event kicks off with an opening ceremony on June 27th, featuring performances from local school children, and draws to a close on June 29th. Spectators are welcome and entry is free of charge. The event is hosted by a partnership of Mencap Sport and Manchester City Council.
The event comes at a time when Mencap are calling for greater support for elite athletes with a learning disability in England. The charity is campaigning to highlight the thousands of pounds worth of funding that has been cut as a result of a ban preventing athletes from competing in the Paralympics.
More information can be found at www.mencap.org.uk/sport
Notes to editors
For more information contact Jenny Tudor, Mencap press office 020 7696 6950 email@example.com
- Mencap works with people with a learning disability and their families and carers.
- 1.5 million people in the UK have a learning disability.
- Learning disability affects someone's intellectual and social development all their life.
- It is not mental illness. It is not dyslexia.
- It used to be called mental handicap but we don't use this term anymore because most people with a learning disability find it offensive.
- People with a learning disability don't get an equal chance in life. That's why we fight to change laws and services, and directly support thousands of people to live their lives the way they want.
- For information about learning disability issues please call the Learning Disability Helpline (England) on 0808 808 1111 or visit www.askmencap.info
- For online press information, go to www.mencap.org.uk/press
- The European event begins at 11am on June 27th and closes at 4pm on June 29th.
- The National Championships take place on Satuday 28th June.
- It takes place at Sportcity, Gate 13, Rowsley Street, Manchester, M11 3FF
- INAS is the International Federation for learning disability sport and is a member of the International Paralympic Committee. For further information visit http://www.mencap.org.uk/