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Committed to making swim, bike, run accessible to all

Published:

Like many clubs across the UK, Bolton Triathlon Club is committed to ensuring as many people as possible can enjoy swim, bike, run.

The club takes great pride in its ‘club for all’ ethos with the club open to beginners, young and old, alongside more experienced triathletes of all standards.

Commenting on the club’s inclusivity, Bolton Triathlon Club chair Stuart Carter said: “We pride ourselves on being a family club so it’s really important to us that we’re a club for all.

“We didn’t want any member of a family who is involved at the club or anyone not currently involved to feel like they couldn’t join in or there’s not an opportunity for them to get involved, so we’ve always tried to be accommodating to everyone.”

The club has a membership of over 250 members and has a growing number of disabled athletes, particularly in the junior sessions, who have joined the club.

“I’ve been involved in triathlon for 19 years, including many of those years as a coach, so I’ve seen first-hand and experienced the benefits of being involved in sport. The benefits aren’t only through sport and physical activity but also the social side as well, so it’s important we do all we can to make everyone feel welcome.

“As a club, we want everyone to feel included and feel like they are able to join in, and that’s the same view I have always had as a coach too,” Carter said. “It’s about working with the athlete or their parent or guardian to find out what adjustments you as a coach can make to ensure that they are able to participate.

“Sometimes the adjustments are really simple, but they can have a huge difference to the athlete participating and for them to be able to take part and enjoy what they’re doing. We have a member who is profoundly deaf in one ear, so when you’re talking through a session or saying instructions we make adjustments, or sometimes it’s just a case of knowing the preference of an athlete and what works best for them.”

Inclusivity is a big part of Bolton Triathlon Club, with the club wanting to create a friendly and welcoming environment for all.

“I think it’s important to remember it’s often not their disability stopping someone from participating, it’s often the environment,” Carter added.

“The environment has got to be made suitable so people feel like they’re supported, included and have the confidence to participate. Sometimes that’s a bit of a challenge, but it’s about working with the athlete into understanding what the environment is they need.

“I’d like to think that we’re good at creating a welcoming and supportive environment at Bolton. Most of the time it’s just a case of making the coaches aware about what they need, what works best for them and what will be helpful to make their experience enjoyable.

“The club members are also always really welcoming as well. We all look out for each other and will help in any way we can. Regardless of their ability, the most satisfying thing as a coach is helping people learn new skills and the sense of achievement they experience when they do that, particularly at races.”

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