November 21 - A British contingent of 25 elite young disabled athletes will make its way to Brazil next week to compete in a major multiple sports event for promising young school aged children.
The Paralimpiadas Escolares de 2013, taking place in São Paulo from November 25 until 30, will see more than 1,300 young athletes from 27 regions of Brazil compete in 10 Paralympic sports, including boccia, goalball, swimming and cerebral palsy football.
Britain has been invited to compete in Brazil due to its strong ties with the country and the pair's common interest in hosting an Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Colin Allen, Chef De Mission and a project manager at the Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS), claimed the experience will give the athletes a great taste of what life would be like should they compete at Rio 2016.
"It is a pleasure to be taking some of our best young disabled athletes to Brazil so they can experience an international multi-sport competition," said Allen.
"I am sure that competing in an event like this, hundreds of miles away from home, will be a fascinating learning experience for them.
"Some of the athletes that are travelling have high hopes of competing in Rio at the Paralympics in 2016 so this will give them a taste of what life will be like should they make the team in a few years time."
Amongst those hoping to be a part of the Team GB at the 2016 Rio Games is 18-year-old Kieran Steer.
Steer is ranked fifth in Scotland for the BC4 class of boccia and is one of 12 members of the Disability Sport Fife (DSF) Futures Squad who receive specialist support servicesto enable them to realise their full potential.
"Competing at the Paralimpiadas Escolares in Brazil is a fantastic opportunity and it will be very different to anything I have done before," he said.
"Being away from home, experiencing a different culture and competing against different athletes will be a great learning curve that I'm sure will help me develop my future career."
Next week's competitions will not be the first time young athletes from Brazil and Britain have competed against each other after a team from South America travelled to Sheffield last September to compete against over 1,600 UK athletes in the Sainsbury's School Games.
Britain's Sports Minister Helen Grant, believes that exchange programmes such as these are a great way to bolster the legacy left behind from London 2012.
"The School Games is a key part of our sports legacy from hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games as we want to create a culture in this country where people play sport for life," she said.
"The partnership and student exchange programme between the School Games in the UK and Brazil is strengthening both the international and domestic legacy from London 2012 - good luck to those athletes competing from Britain in São Paulo."
The opening ceremony for the Paralimpiadas Escolares de 2013 is due to be held on Monday (25 November) in the Auditorium Celso Furtado in São Paulo's district of Parque Anhembi, with the closing ceremony taking place at the same venue on November 29.
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