England’s Chef de Mission, Jan Paterson (second left), sent the following message, outlining her excitement about the state of disability sport and the forthcoming Commonwealth Games.
London 2012 was a game changer for disability sport. We have a generation of athletes who are household names and genuine sporting heroes. Glasgow 2014 provides us with a fantastic opportunity to build on this legacy by continuing to increase the fan base for disability sport and inspiring disabled people to take up sport, if not competitively then as part of a more active lifestyle. The Commonwealth Games offers a new level of integrated competition and that philosophy is very much at the heart of Team England.
We are a single team with a single passion – competing! Our job is to ensure that every athlete is given the best possible chance to make the most of the opportunity they have in Glasgow 2014. Thankfully, we know that when we arrive in Glasgow there will be no accessibility issues. Accommodation, medical and physio areas, transportation, training and competition venues are suitable for all athletes. That is hugely important as it means our athletes can just focus on the competition.
The integrated approach the Commonwealth Games has been moving towards for a number of years means that we think about meeting the needs of every athlete as a matter of course. The athletes are at the heart of everything we do and as a result I feel we are equipped to support every single disabled member of the team to ensure they can get out onto the field of play in the best possible shape to represent England.
I’m very proud of the fact that we are a truly diverse group and inclusive group. I believe our team is a genuine reflection of England at its best.”