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Celts' Saturday night TV celebration - Tanni’s surprise visit to youth wheelchair basketball club

21st June 2012

Tune in Saturday to see inspirational Paralympian Tanni Grey Thompsonmake a surprise visit to the National Lottery-funded CELTS Wheelchair Basketball Club, to hold a special one-off workshop with young hopefuls.

She met players and their families from across South East Wales at Cardiff and Vale College, and handed a Most Improved Under 15 Player Award to 9 year old Daniel May of Caerleon, which he won at the Junior National Wheelchair Basketball Championship.

With six months to go to the Paralympics, Tanni’s visit will be screened on Saturday (25 February 2012) on The National Lottery Saturday Night Draw. This is one of a series of films showing the range of projects that National Lottery players support by raising more than £30 million each week for good causes.

Cardiff-born Tanni, who is Britain’s most successful Paralympian with 11 Paralympic gold medals in wheelchair racing and a further seven golds in World Championships, encouraged young members and shot some hoops herself as they trained.

Tanni Grey Thompson said: “I’ve been lucky enough to compete all over the world, but it’s great to meet our next generation of athletes back in my home town of Cardiff. It’s fantastic seeing the work the club does, and how much all the young people get out of taking part.

“Sport is an incredible way to build confidence and skills, and who knows, we might even have a future Paralympian here. National Lottery funding has made a huge difference both at elite and grassroots level in sport. The National Lottery funding which the CELTS received has obviously made a big difference to the project. Anyone who plays the Lottery should feel proud to know their money helps to fund fantastic projects that are making a positive difference to so many lives.”

Husband and wife Steve and Jo McGrath both coach at the CELTS Wheelchair Basketball Club and work as Development Officers for Disability Sport Wales, Steve in Newport, Jo in Cardiff. Jo set up the club nearly 10 years ago.

Jo McGrath said: “We are thrilled and excited to be part of The National Lottery Draw Show programme. It’s great to have the opportunity to show people who play the Lottery the difference their money makes to organisations like us. Our Lottery funding has helped us train up coaches and grow the club, offering fun, friendship and fitness to a wide range of people. We’re very proud of the success of the club.”

CELTS Wheelchair Basketball Club is the largest wheelchair basketball club in Wales. Two years ago they used National Lottery funding to start a junior programme – giving children from 3 years upwards a chance to try this exciting sport. This vibrant club supports five competitive teams and runs weekly training sessions in Cardiff and Caerphilly, attracting members from across South East Wales. The first team is Division 2 National Champion.

Jon Morgan of Disability Sport Wales said, “Over £3.4 million of Lottery funding has gone into disability sport in Wales, helping disabled people achieve their potential at clubs like the CELTS.”

The CELTS Wheelchair Basketball Club received its National Lottery grant from Sport Wales, through Disability Sport Wales’ Community programme.