This year, Britain’s Paralympians excelled themselves at the 2016 Games in Rio. The team brought home a record breaking 131 medals, massively exceeding their goal of beating the total from London 2012.
It is in the aftermath of such events that we should reflect and be humbled by the exceptional strength, dedication and hard work of these athletes.
And while the achievements of all those competing at the Games is worthy of much praise, I feel I must give special mention to the athletes at the games who were supported by the Wheelwrights BattleBack Fund, a foundation I have long been a supporter of. In 2009 I was Master of the Worshipful Company of Wheelwrights, one of the leading Livery Companies in the City of London, and through that became involved in the BattleBack Fund, and have been a supporter ever since. Our aim at the time was to fund Military personnel who had been seriously injured and who wished to take part in sporting activity. It was hoped that some of those taking part would then go on to represent Great Britain at the 2012 Paralympic games. The BattleBack programme was so successful that it was extended to the 2016 Games in Rio and now further extended to Tokyo in 2020. So far, we have achieved tremendous success with 150 athletes benefitting from our support, many of whom I hope will be qualifying for Tokyo 2020 (You can learn more about the origins of my involvement in my previous blog here).
The BattleBack fund supported 11 Paralympic athletes this year, 10 members of the armed forces and 1 civil servant. Amongst that number is no less than nine medal winners and one world record breaker! Our support to these athletes came in a range of forms; from supplying custom made training equipment (like track bikes and sports wheelchairs) to providing sports kit and funding training programmes for future gold-winners to hone their skills.
One of those Gold winning athletes was Jon Allan-Butterworth (whom you might remember from his brief mention on the previous BattleBack blog). The BattleBack Fund provided Jon with a made-to-measure track bike to assist in his training. His trip to Rio saw him winning Gold in the Cycling Team Sprint and narrowly missing out on Bronze in the C4-5 Time Trial – an incredible achievement.
The BattleBack Fund is extremely proud to have supported all the Rio 2016 athletes in their journey to the Games. Their achievements are a testament to the exceptional dedication and spirit of the servicemen and women who the BattleBack Fund supports.
We now turn our attention to supporting all those hopeful of attending the Paralympics in Tokyo 2020.
To learn more about the BattleBack Fund visit here.