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Paralympic chief 'blown away' by University Arena

Worcester Editorial 3rd Feb, 2014 Updated: 19th Oct, 2016

AN INFLUENTIAL figure in Paralympic sport believes the University of Worcester Arena is helping to break down the barriers faced by disabled athletes.

Sir Philip Craven, president of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), was speaking at the official opening of the city’s £15million sports centre last Wednesday (January 29).

The venue on Hylton Road, which staged its first event last May, was designed to meet the needs of wheelchair as well as able bodied athletes.

Sir Philip was given a tour of the arena before delivering a speech in front of about 150 people where he praised the centre for its ability to cater for different athletes.

“I’m blown away by the University Arena,” he said. “It goes to show what can happen when you have the right people with the right attitudes – they’ve created a wonderful place.

“This facility has clearly come from a passion for sport – a passion for everybody being involved in sport.

“Sport should be for everybody and that is what we have got here. You can see that as they have Worcester Wolves basketball team here along with the GB wheelchair teams. It is tremendous.”

Sir Philip, who was recently re-elected for his fourth successive term as IPC President, was also confident the 2,000 arena would attract further international event having been named the host of the 2015 European Wheelchair Basketball Championships.

Prof David Green, chief executive at the University of Worcester, was delighted to welcome Sir Philip to the arena, which he said had become the “heartbeat of sport” in the city.

“It is fantastic that Sir Philip has come here today and formally opened the University of Worcester Arena,” Prof Green added.

“It just shows you what a high class facility this is and also how much potential it has for the city, the university and our students.”

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