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The head of the British Paralympic Association (BPA) has been heavily criticised by MPs for failing to address cheating within the system that classifies disabled athletes, despite being in his post for more than six years.

Tim Hollingsworth was giving evidence to the Commons digital, culture, media and sport committee, as part of its inquiry into sports governance.

He was giving evidence after the disabled peer and retired Paralympian Baroness [Tanni] Grey-Thompson had told the committee that the classification system was being abused by cheating British athletes in search of money and medals.

On the day they gave evidence to the inquiry, the committee also published a series of witness statements from retired and current athletes, their relatives, and officials, raising serious concerns about the system (see separate story).

The committee has also received evidence from athletes who have given evidence anonymously.

The classification system is run by the national governing body of each Paralympic sport, while athletes competing internationally must also submit to testing by international classifiers.

The process includes medical evidence, physical examinations and assessment of how the athlete functions in that sport, as well as observation of them in competition.

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) defines classification as grouping athletes into different classes according to how much their impairment “affects fundamental activities” in that sport and discipline.

But misleading classifiers can allow athletes to compete against those whose impairments have a greater negative impact on attributes such as speed, coordination and strength.

Hollingsworth told the MPs that the system was the “absolute foundation stone of Paralympic sport”, and he insisted that it was fit for purpose but “can and must be improved”.

Asked if he was surprised at the number of people coming forward with similar concerns to the committee – many of them anonymously – he said again that the system could be improved.

And he said there needed to be an independent body to provide more “transparency and solidity to the process” of complaints about classification.

But he insisted that the International Paralympic Committee had put into place, in 2015, a “far more rigorous set of standards and practices” on classification.

He claimed that “if people were more understanding of that” and the wider system it might help them understand why “one athlete is freely and fairly competing against another”.

But he was later forced to admit that, although BPA would refer any classification complaint to the relevant individual sport, there were currently no procedures for his organisation to take any further action if that stage in the process proved unsuccessful.

Asked by Labour MP Ian Lucas if there should be a route for BPA to take on such a complaint, Hollingsworth said: “There should be, absolutely.”

Lucas then told him: “I find it incredible that in a multi-million pound business, which is what this is nowadays, that that process isn’t there at the minute because the integrity of this is at the heart of the sport.”

He added: “We have had a huge amount of evidence from individual athletes who do not have faith in the integrity of the system.

“These people have come to us because they haven’t felt that they could come to you. Don’t you find that depressing?”

The committee’s chair, Damian Collins, pointed out that Hollingsworth had been leading BPA for six years and told him that the problem had grown “on your watch”.

He said Hollingsworth and BPA had known about the problems with the classification system but had just “sat back and let it happen, and the people who have suffered have been the athletes and their families”.

Hollingsworth said BPA had now decided that it should be involved in developing a national classification code – which should be published next year – and a “better approach to classification at a national level” and “ultimately the development of a suitable process for complaint procedures to be dealt with independently”.

But when he claimed that complaints about the system had not previously “been made clear in the way they are today” to BPA, Collins said: “I don’t believe that and I don’t believe the people in the room believe that and I find it incredible that you say it.”

When Collins asked if Hollingsworth owed Paralympic athletes an apology for the failures in the system, he insisted that there had “not been any proven case of intentional misrepresentation” or “any evidence that has been presented that has gone beyond the circumstantial and the anecdotal”.

But Collins told him that Baroness Grey-Thompson had said the system was being abused, while athletes and families of athletes had also provided evidence about the failures, and he asked him again if he should apologise.

Hollingsworth said: “If there is genuine evidence of an athlete being failed by the system, then yes… [but] to the collective, it would be a no.”

Collins said later: “We have received evidence from athletes who feel they have been discriminated against within teams because they have raised concerns.

“Baroness Grey-Thompson [has said] that as far as she is concerned the classification system is broken and people are cheating it now, today.

“These things may not be all within your direct control, but we would look at BPA and say, you are a leading organisation for para sport in this country, and for you to recognise these failings and be a champion for putting it right, and to acknowledge and apologise to the victims of those failures, I think is something it would be appropriate for you to do.”

But Hollingsworth said: “I am genuinely sorry that there are athletes who feel that they have got grievances, but I don’t necessarily feel that those grievances necessarily are ones that are substantiated.

“I do feel very sorry indeed that we are in a position where there are athletes who feel they can’t get to a point where they are listened to satisfactorily.”

But he said he was “not apologising for failure or a belief that the system is not working as effectively as it is”.

Collins told Hollingsworth that it was “tragic” that, as with other sports, there was “no whistleblowing process, no grievance procedures, cases that have not been properly investigated, athletes have suffered as a result of trying to speak out within their sport”, and that athletes had had to use alternative means to “try to get the truth out there” because there was “no system to do so within their own sport”.

News provided by John Pring at


Source : Paralympic classification scandal: MPs criticise BPA boss for six years of inaction : DisabledGo News


From golf courses to hotels to fashion, the sprawling brands of the president and his family have been taking hits since Election Day.

Source: Trump’s Presidency Is Bad for Business — His Own – NBC News

The White House on Monday defended President Trump’s war of words with the National Football League (NFL) over player protests during the national

Source: White House defends Trump on NFL: ‘This isn’t about being against anyone’ | TheHill

Scope's Blog

John Willis is the founder and Chief Executive of Power to Inspire, a charity all about inclusion through sport, based in Cambridge. He was born without fully formed arms and legs, and last year he took on a challenge to try all 34 Olympic and Paralympic sports.

In this blog he talks about changing attitudes and why sport for all is so important.

I was interested in sport from a very young age. Unfortunately, there weren’t many opportunities to get involved in sport at school.

A few years ago I was nagged by a friend into doing a Triathlon relay – I did the swim. We had a great time and it showed that disabled people and non-disabled people can do sport together, you just have to design it and think about it and adapt it.

John Willis, a disabled man with foreshortened arms and legs, waits on a diving board for the signal to dive into the pool, in front of an audience of adults and children John waiting on a diving board for the signal to dive into the…

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Unfortunately until the Government change their attitude towards disability there will never be an opportunity for a change for the better with the public at large , it will even be difficult to maintain the current position so a change for the worse is more likely.

While not actually saying it the Government are indicating that disabled people do not require welfare benefits and even if they do this should be for a limited period to enable them to overcome their disabilities. This could be where the Paralympics comes in for, although, this would not be the intention, the Government (DWP) appear to believe that these Paralympians do not now need benefits and if this is so for them, then it should be so for all other receivers of benefits. This is in fact not correct for it is only because they receive benefits, that they can continue to do the sports they do. without the benefits their participation in sports will eventually be decreasing until they can no longer engage in sports and then they will be back to square one.

The mainstream media go some way to make public this belief and therefore the general public think this is so for every benefit claimant, if one person can overcome their disability then so can all, so those who continue to claim benefits can only be scroungers.

Having a complex needs daughter I am well aware that she will never overcome her disability and will in effect become more disabled with the advent of time, as will many if not all others who have disabilities.

So the starting point is with the Government of the day, but unfortunately all they are contend with is making cuts, on cuts and more cuts, so eventually the number of disabled people will decrease, but only because the Government is making it impossible for them to survive.

Scope's Blog

Following our #SportForAll activity this summer and as we head towards the fifth anniversary of the London 2012 Paralympic Games. We’ve discovered that, despite the success of the games themselves, there has been little change in the way disabled people feel they are treated by society and supported by the government.

The London 2012 Paralympic Games ran between 29 August and 9 September. At the time it was Lord Coe’s view that “we would never think of disability in the same way again.”

The Games themselves saw disability given an unprecedented platform, with Paralympics GB taking home 120 medals, and para-athletes like Sarah Storey and Ellie Simmonds becoming household names.

However, our new research reveals that a quarter (28%) of disabled people did not feel the Paralympics delivered a positive legacy for disabled people once the two weeks were over. Over a third (38%) think that attitudes have not improved…

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The Special Olympics National Games brought in more than a million pounds to Sheffield, council bosses have revealed.

Source: ‘Incredible’ Special Olympics brings in £1.4 million to Sheffield – The Star

Paralympian Anne Wafula-Strike had to wet herself on a train journey, last year, because the accessible toilet was out of order. Now, she hears from others facing similar problems. Marni Smyth has spinal muscular atrophy, and has used a power chair since she was three. She needs a hoist to get on to a toilet, and says finding accessible loos that could accommodate her needs became a daily struggle. “When I first went to university, I would avoid drinking as much as I could, because I needed to go home and leave a night out early,” she tells Anne Wafula-Strike, in the Paralympian’s report for the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme. “I’d need a hoist and plinth to get changed on, and they just weren’t .” Two years ago, she took the step of undergoing surgery for which she had no medical need. She had a suprapubic catheter fitted, so she does not have to get out of her chair to go to the toilet. She says she knows others who have also had the operation, and it has “completely changed my

Source: ‘A lack of toilets led me to choose surgery’ | DisabledGo News and Blog

For most of her life, Katie Warrent’s parents told her not to run. The 22-year-old is one of just a handful of people in Norfolk with Rubinstein–Taybi syndrome (RTS), meaning her bones can dislocate easily. That meant concerned parents Joanne and Stephen Warrent feared exercise would put their daughter at risk of injury. But, Miss Warrent, from Norwich, has beaten all odds and will be travelling to Sheffield to take part in the Special Olympics on August 12. Joanne Warrent said: “We were told that she wouldn’t walk or talk and wouldn’t be able to feed properly or eat. I had my son who was how they say ‘normal’ but to have Katie it was totally different but it has been worth every moment. “She achieves in life everyday, every day she is so happy. We don’t discuss disability with her, no one else does, she doesn’t think she’s different from anyone else.” Stephen Warrent, Katie’s father said: “She has broken a lot of boundaries that we never thought she would do. She has been a poster

Source: Girl who was told she may never walk prepares for the Special Olympics | DisabledGo News and Blog

Many of you will have heard of the Olympic Games, last games Rio 2016, then followed by the Paralympics, which were also in Rio, Brazil 2016.

However, you may not have heard of Special Olympics GB National Games, which this year are to be held in Sheffield, the Special Olympics GB National Games Sheffield 2017. Yes, in Sheffield, UK, my own city.

Special Olympics Great Britain is a sporting organisation for children and adults with intellectual disabilities that operates in EnglandScotland and Wales. It is part of the global Special Olympics movement,  the world’s largest sports organisation for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.


A  selection of YouTube videos

Special Olympics GB’s ‘Play Unified’ film

Special Olympics GB National Games, 2017 Preview

SOGB National Summer Games 2017 Venues

Tickets to the Opening Ceremony – 

It is now not long for these games to commence and all great events need kicking-off in the right way, and SUFC are your hosts for an evening of celebration and entertainment.

The opening ceremony will be on Tuesday 8th August 2017 at the Bramhall Lane Stadium, the home of one of Sheffield’s football clubs, Sheffield United

from 5.00pm – 9.00pm (doors open 3.30pm).

Tickets are now on, (click on the link), sale.

Appearing will be James Toseland  and Tony Hadley, at the opening ceremony of the Special Olympics GB Sheffield Games 2017

Special Olympics Great Britain 2017 Sheffield Games

Athletes will be arriving on Monday 7 th August 2017.  The Games will commence on Tuesday 8th August 2017 until Friday 11 August 2017 with most of the sports taking place at venues in and around Sheffield, however, the exceptions are the Bowls Indoor, which is at the Indoor Bowls Centre, Urban Road, Doncaster, DN4 0EP directions and Sailing at Pugney’s Watersports Centre & Country Park, Asdale Road, of Denby Dale Road, Wakefield, WF2 7BN directions.

See below the games, venues, dates and times. Directions to Sheffield venues in  City centre and other venues.

Tickets are not required to attend the various games, except the opening ceremony, but some of the smaller venues may not be able to accommodate large numbers of spectators over and above the families of the athletes taking part, further guidance on this is being obtained and this will be updated when this is received.

Checked out which sports to go and watch?

During the games Sheffield is enabling other attractions, however, these are not to detract from the games themselves. These athletes have been in training for many years and we would not wish to do anything to hinder their participation and their enjoyment.

There is also an Activity festival

Special Olympics GB National Summer Games Activity Festival

Special Olympics GB National Summer Games Activity Festival

The Special Olympics Summer Games are coming to Sheffield from 7 – 11 August. Lots of people with a learning disability from the city are going to be involved – as athletes taking part,as volunteers helping out or as spectators cheering .Now there’s another way for local people with a learning disability to be part of this fantastic event.

The Activity Festival on Wednesday 9 August offers the chance to try out new sports. It takes place at the English Institute for Sport (Sheffield) from 12.00pm – 5.00pm.

Look at the Activity Festival Poster for more information on the event.


Signed-up for the Activity festival?

Wed 9 Aug, 12.00 – 5.00

  • It’s not too late – register on the attached form and contact
  • If you would like to attend the Activity Festival please complete the Registration Form
  • Lots of people have signed-up already but are leaving early – can you be flexible with your times so people are able to stay to the end?

Experience the Special Olympics Fringe

Alongside the Games themselves, there’ll be some great stuff going on in and around the city centre all week, highlighting the talents of Sheffielders with learning disabilities and the creativity of some great local organisations. It’s taking place at the same time as Sheffield-by-the-Seaside, so there’ll be a carnival atmosphere in town if you can support your clients to get down.

Here’s a taster of what to expect:

  • Enjoy performances in Tudor Square from Under the Stars and Practically Theatre
  • Visit the art exhibition (‘Seeing is Believing’) in the Millennium Galleries and photo exhibition in the Winter Garden showcasing works by people with learning disabilities and other artists
  • Create a visual record of people during the Games through photography and digital journalism in Tudor Square, and by contributing to a mass work of art that will be displayed in the Winter Garden

Programme (so far) of fringe activities for the Games.

These have been developed by some much-valued local groups – ArtWorks, Burton Street Foundation, Disability Sheffield Centre for Independent Living and Under the Stars. We’re also very pleased to welcome Practically Theatre to Sheffield as well, who will also perform.



7 August


Millennium Galleries




Winter Garden


Opening of ‘Seeing is Believing’ – an exhibition curated byArtWorks and showcasing works by local people with learning disabilities and other artists, which ‘hopes to challenge people’s perceptions of intellectual disabilities through celebrating the creativity and ambition of the artists involved.’


Opening of ‘Get Yourself Active’, a photo exhibition run byDisability Sheffield Centre for Independent Living with portraits of local disabled people and the stars of the Games – the athletes.


8 August

Tudor Square Opening of Tudor Square information marquee, including I am ….. we are’ – a piece of interactive art offered by Burton Street, where photos and statements of visitors to the marquee build a collage of Sheffield during the Games.
Wednesday 9 August 2.00pm

Tudor Square

Performance by Practically Theatre, an organisation working with people with learning disabilities and those without access to theatre – the piece is called ‘A New Journey’ and follows an athlete’s journey to the Special Olympics.
Thursday 10 August 11.15am and 1.00pm

Tudor Square



Showroom Cinema

Contemporary theatre performance called ‘Memory Stones’ byUnder the Stars, a music and drama social enterprise by and for people with learning disabilities, whose performers create original shows based on their own ideas.


An afternoon of films from Sheffield at the Showroom Cinema, depicting empowering and thought-provoking portrayals of disability.

As well as these activities, there’ll be a display at Moor Market. And throughout the week, a mass work of art will be developed, depicting the Special Olympics image. People from all walks of life will contribute to this – visitors to the Games, athletes, performances as well of course local people.

This is a unique event for Sheffield and we wish well to all, the participants (Athletes), their families and friends, Special Olympics Great Britain, volunteers for the Special Olympics Great Britain 2017 Sheffield Games, providers partaking in the fringe events, the people of Sheffield and any others not mentioned.

All of you have a great time

Watching the sports – where to go and when

 As promised, here’s some further info about the venues to help you decide where you, your family and the people you may support could go to watch.

Special Olympics GB want to welcome spectators to any of the Games’ events.  With 8,000 friends and families of the athletes expected in Sheffield for the Games, all wanting to watch, this does mean that some venues are going to fill up fast. But here are some top tips about the venues likely to have more space where you could go to watch. We’ve included comments from Special Olympics GB.

Venues likely to have most space


Ice Sheffield

Coleridge Road Sheffield S9 5DA

Gymnastics (Artistic)   Wed Thurs Fri

·         SOGB comment – All facilities fully accessible.




Sheffield Hallam University Sports Park

Bawtry Road Sheffield S9 1UA

Football Tue Wed Thurs Fri
·         SOGB comment – Viewing of pitch 1, pitch 2 and finals pitches would be best from the balcony on the clubhouse or the tarmac path to the side of the pitches. Viewing of pitches 3 and 4 will be best from the balcony of the clubhouse as access to pitch side is on grass. Volunteers are on hand to assist as required. 
English Institute for Sport (Sheffield)

Coleridge Road Sheffield S9 5DA

Badminton Tue Wed Thurs Fri
Activity Festival   Wed    
Gymnastics (Rhythmic)   Wed Thurs Fri
Table Tennis Tues Wed Thurs Fri
Young Athletes   Wed    
Motor Activity

Training Programme

Tue Wed    
·         SOGB comment – All areas are accessible. Table tennis and badminton have accessible viewing adjacent to the pull out grandstands. There will be over 30 athletes with accessible vehicle requirements competing at EISS – please talk to the stewards who will assist you with your own specific parking needs.
Forge Valley Community School

Forge Valley Sports Centre

Wood Lane Sheffield S6 5HG

Powerlifting     Thurs  
Cycling Tues Wed Thurs Fri
·         SOGB comment – Accessible access to the powerlifting is via the main school entrance rather than the side entrance for general spectators. Volunteers at the welcome desk will be on hand to escort. Access to the cycle track is via the lift inside the sports centre adjacent to the stair case. Access is then via a trackway walkway to the side of the field of play. This trackway may be difficult for some motorised accessible vehicles so please ask a volunteer for assistance if necessary.
Sheffield Hallam University

City Athletics Centre

Stadium Way Sheffield S9 3HL

Athletics Tues Wed Thurs Fri
·         SOGB comment – The entry from Stadium Way is a steep slope – volunteers are on hand to assist. The viewing from the grandstand has accessible spaces at the back and the front. Other viewing is on chairs and rugs on the grass slopes. Access to the toilets is either in front of the clubhouse to the temporary facilities or up the slope and to the back of the clubhouse for the existing accessible toilet. Please give yourself time to get around and ask for help as required.
Pugney’s Watersports Centre & Country Park

Asdale Road (off Denby Dale Road)

Wakefield WF2 7BN

Sailing   Wed Thurs Fri


Surely not indeed, would friends or associates of Prince Charles do any of this. Surely they would not get pleasure from seeing animals being attacked and torn apart by other animals.

Just as Prince Charles and his family members would not just shoot and kill wild animals for pleasure and trophies.

Surely not.

Pride's Purge

Fox hunters are not the well-dressed, refined people some think they are.

The real fox hunters are basically little more than thugs; trespassing on and destroying people’s property, torturing their own hounds and and clubbing puppies to death, riding roughshod over ancient protected areas and punching pensioners in the face:

Not to mention enjoying watching beautiful animals being torn apart while still alive for ‘pleasure’.

In a latest example of their thuggish barbarity, a man out walking his dogs was attacked by hunters and hounds from the Mendip Farmers Hunt, resulting in horrific injuries to both of his dogs:

But according to the local police, the thuggish attack will not even be investigated.

Could the reluctance from local police to react to this crime be connected in any way to the fact that a leading member of the hunt is Alastair Martin, the Secretary of the Duchy…

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