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University’s Paralympians of the future


For the third year running, the University’s Walsall Campus played host to the Black Country ‘SMILE’ event on Friday 6 June.

Over 200 young people with special educational needs and disability (SEND) from the Black Country attended a talent-spotting sports event at the University of Wolverhampton’s Walsall Campus.

The event kicked off with a ‘Let’s Zumba’ warm-up exercise, followed by Great Britain’s Paralympics 2012 Volleyball Captain, Claire Harvey and Youth Sports Trust SEND leader Sue Cook, to officially open the ‘SMILE’ Event.

Students from mainstream and special schools took part in a range of sports activities including; wheelchair basketball, running basketball, football, judo, swimming, gymnastics, and many more.  

Paralympian Claire Harvey said: “What an honour it was to have been part of today, it was brilliant to see the students and leaders adapting sessions with confidence to support the young people achieving. I cannot wait to see what is next in store for SMILE.”

The aim of the event involved identifying potential gifted and talented performers, in order to provide them with the opportunity to represent their borough or city at county athlete assessment days and ultimately national talent camps.

Wheelchair basketball teams for Wolverhampton, Walsall, Sandwell and Dudley have been successfully selected from this event by Alan Caron of AC Coaching.

The University’s Judo Development Officer, Wayne McDonald, has also identified talented young people with the potential to represent the West Midlands.

Dot Heslop, Senior Lecturer Physical Education organised for the School for Education Futures to sponsor the event.

Dot said:  “SMILE has now developed into a series of outstanding events for inclusive sports, enabling our young people with SEND to access quality competitions and activities.

“The innovative, cutting edge partnership between the University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton PASS and Black Country Schools Sports has enabled our ITE trainee teachers to get involved in promoting, planning and delivering the activities.

“Teachers are now, more than ever, using their expertise while developing their skills in inclusive practice and success for all.”


For more information please contact Danielle Taylor in the Media Relations Office on
01902 322448

Date Issued: 16 June 2014

For more information please contact the Media Relations Office on 01902 32 2736 or 01902 518647.

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