Experts in Sport: Para sport special: What does it take to prepare the British team for the Paralympic Games?

As the clock counts down to next summer’s postponed Paralympics Games, this week’s ‘Experts in Sport’ podcast takes a timely look at what it takes to create an optimum performance environment for ParalympicsGB at the Games.

In this special episode, host Martin Foster (Applied Sport Management Lead) is joined by Penny Briscoe, Director of Sport at the British Paralympic Association and Loughborough University’s Head of Para Sport, Nik Diaper.  

Penny, who is a Loughborough University alumna, has 30 years’ experience in elite level sport as an athlete, coach, manager, and director. Between them, Penny and Nik have attended 14 Paralympic Games and for Tokyo, Penny will lead ParalympicsGB as the Chef de Mission for her fourth time with Nik acting as one of the Deputy Chef’s de Mission.

In the podcast, Penny begins by stating how important preparation is to long-term success:

“As soon as the host city is announced we look to get out on the ground into the environment as soon as possible – that’s usually 5-6 years ahead of the next but one Paralympic Games.

“It’s really important to create those critical relationships, not only with the host organisers but also with key suppliers…we need to understand the physical environment, the operational environment, and the political environment if we’re able then to put plans in place to give us a performance edge when it comes to the Games.”


During the episode – which can be found above – Nik and Penny also discuss how ParalympicsGB will be the best-prepared team at the Games and how the Paralympic movement has grown over time, helping inspire a generation.

Nik also touches on how the global trend of embracing diversity and inclusion, alongside the impact of the Paralympic Games, can only be a positive for disabled people: 

“If you look at the global trend towards embracing diversity and inclusion and celebrating that – actively, not just passively – the big global brands and companies are starting to see a real shift in their attitudes and their approach towards embracing the 1billion disabled people in the world today.

“There’s still a huge way to go but the Paralympic Games provides an incredible platform to showcase diversity and inclusion and the brilliance of the human body and spirit.”

The 'Experts in Sport' podcast is a regular series that brings together experts from across Loughborough University with external thought leaders to discuss the latest research and hot topics in sport and academia.

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