Three-time Paralympic gold medallist, James Crisp, tasted sporting success of a different kind last weekend (20 March), as he landed gold in the first ever Ambassador play-off at The British Polio Fellowship’s Annual Indoor Games, in Leicester. Crisp was joined by fellow Ambassador and Paralympian, Anne Wafula-Strike MBE, as well as fashion designer Aleah Leigh and key members of the charity’s staff, in a curtain raiser to the national event.
The Indoor Games took place at Leicester Marriott Hotel over Friday 20 March and Saturday 21 March and saw British Polio members compete against each other in a number of sports and games that have been adapted to accommodate people with mobility issues and physical disabilities. The Team Crisp Vs Team Strike celebrity Ambassador play-off event is a new addition to the games, and although it was played in a friendly spirit, James couldn’t help but unleash his competitive streak, enroute to gold.
“I know it wasn’t necessarily a serious competition and the Indoor Games are about more than winning, but it didn’t matter whether it was boccia, kurling or darts, I couldn’t help but try my hardest to win,” he said. “Aside from claiming the prize though, just being here is a great honour. These games offer a fantastic opportunity for British Polio members to enjoy sporting competition and more importantly camaraderie; just being a part of that is a real privilege.”
Disciplines included in the celebrity play-off include Boccia, a target ball sport similar to bowls which now features in the Paralympics; Kurling, an adaption of Curling to be played on any smooth, flat surface rather than ice; and Darts (sitting and standing). Following the Ambassadors’ Play-off, British Polio members who won their various heats from the charity’s eight regions, competed in the games proper featuring eight disciplines that also included Bowls, Draughts, Cribbage, Dominoes, 5s and 3s and Scrabble.
QVC presenter Julia Roberts, also an Ambassador, was similarly on hand to present the prizes at Saturday’s gala dinner. CEO, Ted Hill MBE, who won gold in the Ambassador’s darts, praised the support of those taking part in the play-off amongst other key events throughout the year. He said: “Both the charity and its members are continually grateful to James, Julia and Anne for their contribution in making both this event and others such a success throughout the year.”
The Games play an important part in many members’ social lives and help contribute to the work the charity does in supporting the 120,000 people in the UK living with the late effects of Polio and Post Polio Syndrome and their continued success remains one of the charity’s priorities.
The games see around 200 competitors taking part across the weekend leading to the final celebration dinner on Saturday night. This year’s competition saw the Yorkshire region come out on top with the Western region and the North West second and third respectively.
To find out more about The British Polio Fellowship and to learn about the late effects of Polio and Post Polio Syndrome visit the charity’s website at www.britishpolio.org.uk or contact them on 0800 043 1935.