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Training club launched for disabled athletes

A training club designed to provide physically disabled athletes with strength and conditioning coaching has opened its doors at York St John University.

‘YSJ Strength’ is the latest arm of York St John Inclusive Activity Club (YSJIAC). Following the success of multisports and goalball sessions held by YSJIAC for people with learning and physical disabilities, YSJ Strength branches out to cater for the specific strength and conditioning needs of amateur and elite physically disabled athletes.

The club operates in the York St John University fitness suite every Sunday from 10.00am-12.00pm under the coaching of John Gray, Senior Lecturer in Sport and Physical Activity; Dean Armstrong, YSJ Active Development Officer; Simon Kumar, former student at York St John and Chairman of YSJIAC; and James Oliver, a first year BA Physical Education & Sports Coaching student.

A pilot scheme received great praise attracting athletes involved in wheelchair basketball and goalball. The coaches have also been privileged to work with York-based two-time GB Paralympic bronze medallist table tennis player Cathy Mitton, and her husband Keith Mitton, a former GB wheelchair fencing athlete.

Cathy Mitton described her experience:

“Having an environment dedicated solely to disabled athletes is fantastic. I have found that with other conditioning programmes, the gym environment can be intimidating and the knowledge of the staff lacking. YSJ Strength couldn’t be further from that experience and I would recommend the club to other disabled athletes.”

YSJ Strength will serve as a practical training and work experience route for students interested or studying in the area of strength and conditioning. It will also allow students to engage in related sports performance research projects. The club is currently recruiting student volunteers who are keen to gain experience in inclusive sports and performance coaching.

Dean Armstrong, YSJ Active Development Officer at York St John University commented:

“YSJ Strength provides a dedicated and friendly training environment for disabled athletes who are striving to improve their performance in their specialist sport. The coaches, all volunteers, work with athletes on a one-on-one basis to provide tailored strength conditioning sessions.

“The club not only gives York St John students a unique opportunity to complement their existing sports studies with a specialism in inclusive sports, but also provides further recognition for the University as a key asset for inclusive sports coaching in the region.”

Disabled athletes interested in joining YSJ Strength are encouraged to contact Dean Armstrong on T: 01904 876751 or E: enquiries@ysjiac.org. The club runs in York St John University fitness suite on Sunday mornings from 10.00am-12.00pm.

Picture shows (left to right): Dean Armstrong, James Oliver, Simon Kumar and John Gray with equipment in the fitness suite at York St John University.

For further information please contact Amy Hall, PR & Communications Officer on T: 01904 876466 or E: a.hall@yorksj.ac.uk