Two rowers appointed to BPA Athletes’ Commission

The British Paralympic Association (BPA) have today announced that it is setting up the organisation’s first ever Athletes’ Commission.
The new high calibre Commission will be made up of nine athletes, including London 2012 Paralympians David Clarke (Football), Tom Aggar (Rowing), Claire Cashmore (Swimming), Sophie Christiansen OBE (Equestrian), Ben Quilter (Judo), and Stef Reid (Athletics) as well as Vancouver 2010 Paralympian Tim Farr (Alpine Skiing). All were nominated by their sports and fellow athletes. They will be joined by two retired athletes Helene Dyson (née Raynsford, Rowing) who competed in Beijing 2008 and Caroline Matthews (Wheelchair Basketball) who competed in Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008.

The group reflects a balance of summer and winter sports and a cross section of sports and impairment groups. To be eligible, athletes must have competed at a Paralympic Games or a Paralympic Winter Games in the last six years.
The Athletes’ Commission acts as an advisory group to the BPA, and will represent the views of athletes to the BPA Board, Executive Team and ParalympicsGB Games Planning Groups. Through the Commission, the BPA can use athlete feedback and advice to support its objective to send the best prepared team of British athletes to each Paralympic Games.
Some of the areas that the Commission will advise on could include anti-doping, team planning, Games Services, kit, preparation strategies, village arrangements.
The Commission will also act to support the BPA response to developments on an international level, such as classification. They will also support the IPC Athletes’ Council election process and have a commitment to support British influence at this level.
Dave Clarke will be Chair of the Athletes’ Commission. He captained ParalympicsGB’s Football 5-a-side team at London 2012 and was the most experienced member of that squad with 144 caps and 127 international goals to his name. He also represented ParalympicsGB in Football at the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games and in Goalball at the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Games.
Clarke said: “It is a real privilege to have been selected to this role and I can’t wait to get started. With a range of sports, backgrounds and experience on board, I am optimistic that British Paralympic athletes will feel well represented by this group and that we will work together on the issues which matter to them.
“The BPA is a very athlete-focussed organisation and has always proved to be proactive in the work that they do to support us, but this is a fantastic initiative that will further strengthen the voice of British Paralympic athletes. I have no doubt that the Commission can help the BPA so that athletes continue to be at the heart of plans for each ParalympicsGB team.”
Tim Hollingsworth, Chief Executive of the British Paralympic Association, said: “On behalf of everyone at the BPA, I’m delighted that we are able to announce our first ever Athletes’ Commission and I look forward to working with this group in the future.
“Competing at a Paralympic Games is the pinnacle of any athlete’s career, and this initiative shows that we are doing everything we can to support British athletes as they prepare to compete on the world stage, including harnessing all the experience and knowledge of those who have been through the unique experience of competing for ParalympicsGB at a summer or winter Games.”

Penny Briscoe, Director of Sport at the BPA, also welcomed the news, adding: “I am very pleased that we are able to announce the new Athletes’ Commission and I’d like to welcome all of the appointed athletes to their new roles. I am sure that they will have an incredibly positive impact on the BPA’s approach and delivery of athlete related matters and I look forward to working with them as we progress towards Sochi, Rio and beyond.”