The Disability Discrimination Act specifically requires that sport construction does not in any way impede a person with a disability from enjoying their training. Yorkshire-based manufacturer of synthetic surfaces Playrite know that the need to specify the right products for sporting facilities is seen as crucial if a whole swathe of the disabled community is to be fully included in UK sport.
Make no mistake about it… adapted wheelchair sports programmes in the UK are on the rise. With over seven million people in the UK having some form of mobility impairment, the Disability Discrimination Act specifically requires that sport construction does not in any way impede a person with a disability from enjoying their training. Yorkshire-based manufacturer of synthetic surfaces Playrite know that the need to specify the right products for sporting facilities is seen as crucial if a whole swathe of the disabled community is to be fully included in UK sport.
Today the Paralympics are the second biggest sporting event in the world. At the 2012 London games, 4,200 disabled athletes participated in 20 sports in a stunning range of fully accessible, 'universal design' venues. The games are no longer about the rehabilitation of paralysed people: they are a great international sporting event in their own right. Other famous sporting venues have opened up to disability sports including Wimbledon, where wheelchair tennis is now played. According to Sport England “good facilities are undamental to developing sporting opportunities for everyone” and since the London Olympics and Paralympics 2012 has become more evident with the increase of participation in all sports at all levels.
The accelerated commodification of the Paralympic Games has seen it move from a pastime to a global sporting spectacle marking it as a hyper-visible space of disability representation. Indeed, the Rio 2016 Paralympics saw its largest global media audience of 4.1 billion, an increase of over 127% since 2004 which has had a positive knock-on effect in the UK for a host of wheelchair sports and increased sporting participation.
There is though, a ‘however.’ A lack of opportunities and accessible venues have been identified as the top two barriers to participation in sports and physical activity for wheelchair users and recent research has revealed high levels of demand among wheelchair users for a range of sports. Playrite has correctly identified that providing more artificial surfaces as opposed to grass or tarmac will close the gap in levelling up access to facilities that normally only able-bodied users would benefit from.
Approximately 54% of disabled people travel more than 30 minutes to take part in some form of sport or physical activity so there is a clear need for more opportunities to take place at a local level.
Playrite provides the highest quality of sport surfacing products for everyone, from grassroots community sport centres up to elite sporting facilities. In particular, they are keen to ensure their products are suitable for all users, in particular those who use wheelchairs in grass-based sports.
To guarantee that their products will serve the next generation of sporting greats Playrite submitted their Matchplay 2 surface for testing to determine the coefficient of friction when the surface is in use by wheelchairs. Surfaces require a coefficient of friction between 0.75 μ – 1.0 μ to be deemed suitable for wheelchair sports. Tests conducted by Labosport determined that Matchplay 2 had a rating of 0.96μ which deems it safe for wheelchair users and suitable for a number of sports including: Tennis, Hockey, Football, Netball and Basketball.
Chris Pickles, Sales Director, Playrite Ltd, commented, “We have had a large increase in demand from the wheelchair sporting sector for our Matchplay 2 synthetic grass surface. It seemed more than prudent to have our Matchplay 2 product tested by a recognised body. It’s crucial that sports surfaces meet the required friction ratings for wheelchair users. The Labosport report quite clearly shows that Matchplay 2 is more than fit for purpose in this sector.”