This week, Paralympic athletes from around the world are taking part in the IPC Athletics European Championships 2014 in Swansea. In total, 560 athletes from 39 countries are competing in the Games, with 53 delegates representing Great Britain.

Despite Britain having the second highest number of participants – behind only Russia - you could be forgiven for having this event pass you by. Media coverage of the week-long competition, which runs until Sunday August 24th, has been patchy at best. While Channel 4, as the current IPC TV rights holders, have covered the Games live as well as via social media, the event is missing the comparatively widespread coverage of its sister competition, the European Athletics Championships 2014.

BBC Radio 5 Live has featured round-ups of key races within its general sports coverage throughout this week, which is to be applauded for promoting inclusivity and highlighting non-mainstream talent, particularly given that the BBC recently pledged to increase the percentage of disabled people that it portrays or represents on TV. However, the broader media’s coverage of the event has been limited, and we would like to have seen a greater commitment to ensuring that such sporting achievements by disabled athletes were recognised and shared with a wider audience.

On Thursday, 14-year-old Scot Maria Lyle won her second gold medal in 24 hours, winning both the T35 100m gold on Wednesday as well as coming first in the 200m event. Despite this, news of the triumph by Lyle, who set two world records during her international debut at the IPC Athletics Grand Prix event in Dubai in February, was sparse.

While we welcome Channel 4 and the BBC’s commitment to covering such events, we call on the wider media to recognise the achievements of disabled athletes and seize the opportunity to engage potential new fans. 

And if you want to see more parasport in action, next week’s National Paralympic Day offers the perfect opportunity. Tickets are only £5 each and sports fans can pick from a range of showcase events, including swimming and wheelchair basketball.


Gemma Taylor, media assistant.