Double Tokyo 2020 Paralympic medallist Oliver Lam-Watson visited Highshore School on Tuesday to mark the start of London Sport’s Active London conference.
The Dulwich wheelchair fencer, who claimed silver and bronze at this year’s rescheduled Paralympic Games, met with the school’s pupils and delivered a fencing session.
The impact of Covid-19 has been significant on the capital and physical activity levels, particularly for those with disabilities who have found that the pandemic created new barriers to participation.
Highshore School, a special needs school in Southwark, recently received funding from London Sport to support them to open their facilities outside of schools hours, enabling their pupils and the wider community to have the opportunity to take part in more physical activity and sport.
During the visit, Lam-Watson said: “I think we have found the next generation of wheelchair fencers here. This [school visit] is as important to me, as the Paralympics.”
Having only taken up wheelchair fencing three and half years ago, the 28-year-old shared his inspirational story about having a big dream and ‘going for it’ despite others telling him it wouldn’t be possible. He said: “Having never having been offered disability sport growing up, I was always made to feel different. It is so important that young, disabled people are given the opportunity to be active. How many more world champions could we have, if we offered para-sport from a young age?”
Active London is the largest annual conference dedicated wholly to the future of physical activity and sport in the nation’s capital, taking place on September 21 and 22.
The two-day digital event is exploring a series of themes that build on the remarkable work that has taken place across London, and the ways the sector can embrace change, reconnect and rebuild for the better. The conference will explore how changes,
innovations and new opportunities can help the sport and physical activity sector support more Londoners to have an active life.
London Sport chair Jillian Moore said: “On Wednesday, we’ll be looking at breaking down barriers that young women face in starting physical activity or sport; only 38.5% of girls in the capital undertake the recommended amount.
“There’s a particular challenge there so the session on Wednesday will hear from Badu Sports on how women in London can use sport as an access point for personal and professional development.”
Also on day two of Active London, delegates can hear how four locally-rooted approaches to promote walking and cycling to groups of people that are representative of London.
For more information on London Sport, visit www.londonsport.org
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