UK Sport chair Dame Katherine Grainger was among the speakers at the UK Paralympic Performance Conference in Manchester ©UK Sport

More than 200 experts have attended a two-day UK Paralympic Performance Conference to discuss preparations for athletes at future Games, including Tokyo 2020. 

The conference in Manchester was the fourth of its kind to take place since London 2012.

The event was aimed at bringing together Paralympic sport specialists and practitioners.

It was jointly organised by UK Sport, the English Institute of Sport (EIS) and the British Paralympic Association (BPA).

Support also came from the Peter Harrison Centre for Disability Sport at Loughborough University

"The UK Paralympic Performance Conference has provided a fantastic platform for the high-performance system to come together at an important time in the Tokyo 2020 cycle," Dame Katherine Grainger, the chair of UK Sport, told delegates.

"We are very fortunate to have so many world-leading experts across Paralympic sport here and it was brilliant to see UK Sport, the English Institute of Sport, the British Paralympic Association and our close partners under one roof, working together towards a common goal."

This year’s Conference featured mix of keynote addresses and workshops, as well as presentations focused specifically on preparations for Tokyo 2020.

It also covered a range of crucial topics that will support the continued development of the UK Paralympic high-performance system into the Paris 2024 cycle and future Paralympic Games, it was claimed.

"The Conference was a great opportunity to have the whole UK Paralympic high-performance system under one roof and to utilise the power of our network,” Tom Paulson, head of Paralympic performance support at the EIS, said. 

"Connecting the system at this time helps to focus our attention on the challenges of Tokyo 2020, but also to begin looking ahead to Paris 2024 and how we can develop our support for athletes and coaches in the next Paralympic cycle.

"Much of the content shared throughout the conference isn’t available anywhere else in the world and reflects the pioneering work of the EIS’ practitioners who have contributed over half of the sessions across the two days.

"I’m delighted with how the conference has gone and am looking forward to seeing how the knowledge and information shared is used to maintain our momentum as we collectively prepare for Tokyo."

Three-time Paralympic gold medallist Stephen Miller and Rio 2016 swimming gold medallists Stephanie Slater and Matt Wylie were among those to contribute to discussions.

The trio spoke on topics such Japanese culture and the experience of an athlete preparing for their very first Games, as well as classification.

Wylie announced his retirement from swimming last year, revealing a decision to change his classification had "drained me of my passion for the sport".

Britain finished second on the overall Paralympic Games medal table at Rio with 64 gold ©British Rowing
Britain finished second on the overall Paralympic Games medal table at Rio with 64 gold ©British Rowing

Britain earned their third highest Paralympic Games medal haul at Rio 2016, finishing second behind China with 64 gold, 39 silver and 44 bronze.

Nik Diaper, head of performance at the BPA, claimed the conference had proved a useful exercise to help ensure continue success.

"Collaboration across the UK High Performance system has been instrumental in supporting the continued success of ParalympicsGB," he said.

"The two days have demonstrated not only the level of research, planning and insight that has been achieved to date, but also the shared ambitions for Tokyo 2020 both in terms of performance and the joint commitment to create the best possible environment for athletes and staff at Games-time.

"Tokyo 2020 will present a number of challenges for our team and competition will be intense, but I am confident that our preparations are in a very positive place at this point in the cycle."