By Hannah Blackwell
Welsh taekwondo star Beth Munro won silver at the Paralympic Games last year and after rising through the ranks with Disability Sport Wales, she is now focused on inspiring others to take up opportunities such as the Swansea Para Sport Festival this summer.
Starting off with a Disability Sport Wales insport event at Swansea University on 1 August 2022, the event will bring 5,000 participation opportunities across the festival including five competitive events at different venues.
Attending an insport event can be a life-changing experience, as Beth Munro can testify. She attended a similar event in 2019 and this was where she was introduced to taekwondo.
“To go from trying taekwondo for the first time at an insport event in November 2019 and becoming a silver medal-winning Paralympic athlete less than two years later in 2021 still blows my mind,” said Munro.
A great day was had by all ⭐️ Some of our Paralympians with local school children at our Para Sport Festival launch @SwanseaUni! @BethMunro19 @PaulKarabardak @JamesLedger93 @SwanseaCouncil @EnjoySwansea @WG_Culture @SPARintheUK pic.twitter.com/Cn0cbW9eJu
— Disability Sport Wales (@dsw_news) March 5, 2022
“The fact that I am now a role model to young people and young women is the reason why I will continue the legacy for as long as I can.
“I’m super proud of myself and I’m proud of the individuals around me who have supported me through it. DSW started the journey. Anthony Hughes, I’m going to give him a shout out again because he’s a fantastic man!
“Taekwondo Cymru led the way, and I couldn’t have done it without GB Taekwondo as well – and together hopefully I will continue to rise and win gold at the 2024 Paralympic Games in Paris.
“This dream was always on my Bucket List, but under the heading ‘impossible.’ But nothing is impossible because I have the medal to prove it.”
Cumulating on the following weekend, the Para Sport Festival will add to the festival atmosphere around Swansea over the 6/7 August weekend, alongside the World Para Series Triathlon and Ironman 70.3 Swansea.
Co-ordinated by Disability Sport Wales, the Para Sport Festival has been developed by a network of key stakeholders, including Welsh Government, Swansea Council, a number of Welsh and British national governing bodies of sport and local insport clubs aiming to deliver high-quality accessible opportunities for disabled children, young people and adults.
The three-year programme aims to grow the range and level of opportunity and competition provided in para sport for the years to come.
Tom Rogers, Disability Sport Wales Partnership Manager, echoed those thoughts and wants to offer as much variation and inclusivity as possible.
“The aspirations for this Para Sport Festival are focused on developing a genuine legacy of both participation and competitive opportunities for disabled people in Swansea,” said Rogers.
“We are pleased that the Para Sport Festival events programme will include opportunities across a number of Paralympic and non-Paralympic sports and we are delighted to be working alongside Welsh Triathlon, Welsh Target Shooting Federation, Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby, Welsh Rugby Union, Wales Deaf Rugby Union, and Basketball Wales to bring together a festival of competitive para sport to Swansea.
“The Para Sport Festival as a whole is an excellent opportunity to showcase the first-class opportunities available in Swansea to a greater audience, and to give us a fantastic platform to build over the initial three-year period.”