GB Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Paralympian, Kayla Bell, joined the launch of the 2023 Reading Festival of Sport during a visit to The Abbey Junior School on Friday 24 February.
The multi-award winning festival returns this year as part of the Reading Children’s Festival in May. The festival sits as part of wider work at the Junior School to celebrate girls in sport to help students find belonging in sport.
In March, the Junior School will be staging a ‘Discovery Week’. This is a further opportunity for students to explore new sports outside of their comfort zone.
Kayla, from Thatcham, is a World and European Championship medallist. In 2021, she represented Great Britain at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. She began playing wheelchair basketball at the age of eight after she was introduced to the game by a teaching assistant.
“Finding a sport at a young age can be daunting. There is a sport out there for you but it can take time and resilience to find one for you. At first, I didn’t really enjoy wheelchair basketball. I didn’t think sport was for me because I didn’t know that sport could be enjoyed by everyone. It took me five or six sessions of wheelchair basketball for me to realise how much I love it. I think it’s really important that everyone gives something a go.”
The Abbey won ‘School of the Year’ for its work to promote ‘belonging’ for girls and young women in sport, at the Reading Sports Awards in November.
Head of Junior School PE & Sport, Rachael Steele, says, “We offer 13 different sports in our Junior School curriculum. We take an inclusive approach so that every child in a year group has the opportunity to take part. We are proud of the positive attitude our students have towards PE. We want to do more to encourage lifelong interest and engagement in sport and share our experience with the wider community across Reading.”
As part of a warm up event for the Reading Festival of Sport 2023, Lower III students took part in workshops with Kayla to learn more about the game of wheelchair basketball.
More details about the Reading Festival of Sport as part of the Reading Children’s Festival will follow.