Interviews

Adam Hills

https://twitter.com/joshwiddicombe
1. Why do you think disability sport should be at the forefront of the media?​
I think Disability Sport is like a good magic trick. The sport distracts you from the process of learning about disability. The Paralympics is a great example. People begin by seeing disabled people playing sport, but eventually ignore the disability and realise they are watching elite athletes. Then before they know it, they realise that disability isn't as restrictive as people think it is. 

In fact, a lot of able-bodied people watch disabled sport and then realise that their own restrictions aren't as great as they thought. As much as Para-athletes hate the term "inspiring", when people see disabled people playing sport and playing it really well, it inspires them to test their own boundaries. 
Plus, coverage of Disability Sport lets disabled people know there are ways and means for them to take part in sport as well. 


It's a win-win-win all round !

2. How do you think the media should spread the message of disability sport to the general public?
The best way to spread the message of disability sport is to treat it as sport and not a novelty. Viewers and readers like to watch good competition. It doesn't matter the sport, or the gender, or the ability of the players - people like watching a competitive game. 


Phrases like "just being out on the field is a victory" don't help anyone. because for most of the athletes, players, and competitors, "just being out on the field" isn't actually enough. they want to win! 
The secret of covering disability sports in the media is to cover the sport first, and the disability second. 


3. Where do you see disability sport in the future?
The "Para" in Paralympics stands for "parallel". That's where I'd like to see disability sport in the future - parallel to able-bodied sport. Eventually it'll all just be different categories of "sport", and disability won't even be a term. 


Also, as technology improves, disability sport will become faster, and more exciting. 

4. Have you taken part in any disability sports? If so which?
I was asked to trial for the Paralympics when I was a kid, but didn't because I didn't think I was disabled enough. If only I knew about categories, and how cool the Paralympics would become! I've recently found out about a Physical Disability Rugby League competition in Australia though, and am very keen to see if I can take part. I grew up playing Rugby League against kids with two legs, but I'd love to get involved in playing against people like me. If not, I also want to help promote the sport. There are people in the UK that I'm going to meet up with, to see if we can start up a similar thing. I'm actually quite excited by it! 

Josh Widdicombe

https://twitter.com/joshwiddicombe
1. Do you know anyone actively taking part in disability sport?
I have met a lot of the GB paralympians through my work on the show the Last Leg, what always strikes me is just how driven and competitive they are as people. It takes so much for someone to reach that level, an astonishing amount of dedication. As for people that play day to day I know that Alex from the Last Leg has played in disabled football matches (not sure how this exactly works as I realise I am using a broad term there). I do know however that he was once sent off, I hear he is very talented but can lose his head in the heat of battle.

2. What disability sports have you watched and if you have did you watch them live or through the media other than the Paralympics?
I have attended both the previous paralympics and through that watched a lot of disabled sport. Away from the headline events I think wheelchair tennis is a superb sport to watch live, brilliantly paced game that really relies on a huge amount of guile and skill. I find myself watching any disability sport that is on (or any sport) TV, but obviously that mainly ends up being the big competitions.

3. Do you think disability sport should be promoted more through the media? If so why?
I think that the more people see of disability sport the more they fall in love with it. Sport is about stories and characters when it comes down to it, the reason you watch big events or keep watching a sport is you know about the people or clubs involved and develop loyalties or, indeed, rivalries. The more people hear about the athletes that train so hard to get to the top of disability sport the more they will want to tune in again and again to watch them, which is what the people who dedicate their lives to these events deserve.