The British Polio Fellowship is launching its annual indoor games in Leicester with a bang this year as it announces that Paralympians James Crisp and Anne Wafula-Strike MBE will compete in a celebrity play-off event, as a unique curtain raiser that could become an annual event. The athletes, who are both ambassadors for the charity, will invite their friends and fellow sport stars to take part in a selection of the games which have been adapted to be played by both able and differently able competitors, on Friday 20 March 2015 – before the members’ Indoor Games proper begins.
James Crisp and Anne Wafula-Strike MBE take part in the celebrity play-off event
The charity’s annual Indoor Games takes place at Leicester Marriott Hotel over two days and sees 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 will be played in the friendly spirit intended, it is likely to be as fiercely competitive as the British Polio members’ games themselves .
“If there’s one thing for certain with sportsmen and women, it’s that no matter what event they’re taking part in, you can’t stop their competitive nature coming through and I’m sure this will be exactly the same with our play-off event,” said Ted Hill MBE, CEO of The British Polio Fellowship. “The games in general always have a great spirit with members from across the country competing on behalf of their various regions for the crown in their respective sports and games; this event will only add to that vibe.”
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 played on any smooth, flat surface rather than ice; and Darts (sitting and standing). Following the ambassadors’ Play-off, British Polio’s members who won their various heats from the charity’s eight regions, will compete in a total of eight games which will also include Bowls, Draughts, Cribbage, Dominoes, 5s and 3s and Scrabble.
Anne Wafula-Strike MBE contracted Polio aged two in her native Kenya and became the first wheelchair racer from East Africa to compete at a Paralympic Games, appearing at the Athens games in 2004. She has since been a key part of The British Polio Fellowship’s activities as she now lives with the late effects of Polio and Post Polio Syndrome (PPS), a condition that affects some 120,000 people in the UK.
Having sampled some of the disciplines at last year’s event and being the competitor that she is, Anne expressed a desire to take part in the games in a more official capacity this year. She said: “The Indoor Games is a great event that see’s British Polio Members compete against each other in a great spirit and since appearing at the event last year I’ve had a burning desire to take part in the games myself and I’m sure James [Crisp] feels the same.”
James Crisp who is a three time Paralympic Gold Medallist Swimmer became an ambassador for the charity having contracted Polio as a child through vaccination. Like Anne he is also relishing the opportunity to take part in the celebrity Play-Off and hopes he has what it takes to lift the celebrity trophy. He said: “I’ve visited the games in the past and I’m really pleased to finally have the opportunity to take part. It’s going to be competitive and I’m sure me and Anne will be giving it our all as we both look to add a Leicester games medal to our other sporting accolades!”
The two Paralympians will be joined by team mates and friends from both in and outside the sporting world as Team Strike take on Team Crisp for what will hopefully become a permanent fixture of the indoor games.
“We hope this event will be a success and in the future it can be something that we look forward to,” concluded Ted. “We’re ever grateful for the hard work that all of our ambassadors dedicate to raise the profile of The British Polio Fellowship as we attempt to inform the nation of the late effects of Polio and Post Polio Syndrome, a condition which affects the same number as Parkinson’s disease, but benefits from only a fraction of the public knowledge.”
The Leicester indoor games take place between Friday 20 March and Saturday 21 March at The Leicester Marriott Hotel, with the celebrity curtain raiser taking place on Friday 20 March between 2pm and 5pm. 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