The National Junior Games is an annual event that has been taking place annually at Stoke Mandeville Stadium since the 1980’s. Organised by WheelPower, the national charity for wheelchair sport this event brings together disabled children from across the country for a life changing week of sport and activity at the birthplace of the Paralympic movement.

From 27-30 June over 90 children aged from 11-18 took part in this fantastic event, and over the course of the week were able to try 19 different sports and achieve their personal best scores through a variety of fun and exciting challenges. Taking place across the Stoke Mandeville Stadium site were the following sports; wheelchair basketball, tennis, powerchair football, boccia, fencing, athletics, handcycling, rowing, swimming, boccia and canoeing (to name a few)

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Hear from some of the participants

“I really enjoyed taking part in all the activities. My favourites were badminton, dance, and tennis. I met many great kids and I will have so much to talk about later on.” (Natalia, from Essex)

“I have Cerebral Palsy and I can’t walk very far, so I use a wheelchair most of the time and play wheelchair sports. I was really excited about coming to the Games and its been a really great experience. Its my first time here and I’ve tried loads of difference sports that I’ve never tried before. I quite liked wheelchair rugby, I did fencing this morning and badminton as well so might continue those in the future.” (Jamie, 16 from Reading)

“Playing sport gives me freedom, you haven’t got anyone judging you. You are playing with people who have similar disabilities to you, so you can feel like you can be you and have so much fun and you forget about everything else that is going on in your life. I would definitely recommend this event to anybody who what to try new sports. It’s been a really great experience and I think a lot of other people should try it.” (Chloe, 16 from Worthing)

“Sport is very important to me, and not only from a physical point of view, but from a mental point of view. I don’t think there’s any sport I’ve missed so far and although I’m pretty tired now, I have loved every minute. I feel I’ve been so lucky to have this opportunity and I’d definitely come again!” (Jayden, 13 from Southampton)

“It’s my first time at the Games and I am enjoying it a lot and I like to do all the different sports. I was born disabled and I made myself walk because I was scared. But after this week I think I might go in my wheelchair at school because this week has made me feel proud of being in a wheelchair.” (Millie, 13 from Coventry)

A parents perspective 

“Seeing Ellie smile so much was a true gift. The fellow carers and parents were all high spirited and it was a fantastic chance for kids to mix and feel happy and safe in their own skin. Thank you to WheelPower for making our year. And that’s no exaggeration!” (Ellie’s Mum)

“What an amazing three days. Watching my child go off confidently and do everything independently was my highlight of the week. Thank you for having us.” (Parent)

“My son Peter is 13 and has had a spinal cord injury since 2019 and we’ve been looking for more sporting opportunities for him to get into. We came last year and are back again! Its really hard to find where these sports are available and then you come here and speak to the coaches and they point you in the right direction and they say ‘there’s a club near you here, go and have to chat to them’. I’ve recommended it to so many of his friends and I keep saying to them you must come because it’s really good.” (Parent of Peter, from Derbyshire)

“Sport is so important to my daughter Holly and she’s a very active girl who loves to compete so she’s been loving it here at the Junior Games. No one cares about anyone’s disability and no one is trying to outdo anyone and it’s just about having fun. I don’t know what the future holds but whatever she wants to do really, I’m quite happy to put everything behind it and make it happen. I just love to see the smile on her face and watching her pushing herself to do more.” (Hollys Parent)

Coaches view 

“I really enjoy the coming to the Games because of the fact that its so inclusive. I absolutely love it and I’ve asked to come back to the next series of WheelPower events and it’s so nice to see the children achieving things. The ones that quite often are written off come here and they have massive achievements and they all go away on such positive note.” (Jackie Woods, Boccia England)

“This week we’ve been introducing young people to the game of tennis and giving them a chance to get on court in a chair. Coming to events like this is really important and it gives us an opportunity to get into the community. For the children here to try a sport that is both fun for a hobby but also can turn into a career is something that not all sports provide so we’re glad to be able to do that.” (Will Croft, LTA)

“I was asked to come up here for the week to support the Games as a volunteer with the archery team and I tell you what, its been brilliant. I’ve really enjoyed the week so far and it’s the children’s faces and seeing what they can achieve is so special. I’m very tired as you can imagine but to see them pull a bow and arrow back and see that they can do it and they hit the target is so good.” (Debbie, Wheelchair Archery Association)

From school  

“The highlight of the Games was seeing the students develop their independence and confidence trying new things” (Teacher, Angmering School)

Flickr Album

The life changing memories that come from taking part in the WheelPower National Junior Games would not be possible without the generosity of our supporters. Thank you to the Kentown Wizard Foundation for their support this year, and for helping us to transform the lives of 90 disabled children through sport.