Games will be a lasting legacy

Rachael Latham
Rachael Latham

A FORMER Wigan Paralympian has praised the legacy of the London 2012 Games – greater sporting participation.

Rachel Lathan, of Standish, who competed in the Beijing 2008 Paralympics, believes that last year’s Games have encouraged more disabled children to grow in sporting confidence.

This is despite a recent survey by disability charity, Vitalise, showing that the feel-good factor is flagging and urgent work is needed to sustain the legacy of the Games.

The 24-year-old said: “I can’t argue with statistics and there clearly are areas that need working on but there are also a lot of positives to look at as well as the negatives.

“I’ve did a lot of work for the Youth Sport Trust the academic year straight after the Games and I saw a huge shift in perception. For the first time, disabled children had disabled role models to aspire to be and able-bodied kids were following them. Disability used to be a taboo subject, but the Paralympics made it ‘normal’.”

She added: “From what I have seen it has given young children with a disability the confidence to realise that it’s what they can do and not what they can’t do. Children now think of their ability not their disability. It’s only one year on, and I don’t think it’s long enough to measure the true results of its legacy, come back in 10 years time when the children of 2012 are grown up.”

Vitalise’s study has found that six out of 10 of people with disabilities say there has been no perceptible change to their lives one year on from the Games.