Dame signs One Game Pledge

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Ian Martin

Ian Martin and Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson who signed the One Game Pledge

Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson was only too happy to put her full backing behind the ECB’s One Game Pledge when she met National Disability Cricket Manager Ian Martin at the annual Beyond Boundaries showcase event on Friday.

Tanni, who is regarded as one of the greatest British disabled athletes having won 11 Paralympic gold medals, believes cricket is a great way to engage those with disabilities in sport.

The track star, who was named BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year on three separate occasions in 1992, 2000 and 2004, said the recent initiative of running disability cricket centrally under the ECB is a great idea.

“I’m really pleased to support the ECB’s commendable efforts to make cricket more inclusive and to promote equity in sport,” she said.

Tanni was speaking at the annual Beyond Boundaries showcase event at the Kent Showground in Maidstone, which is a live, interactive experience designed at reiterating a ‘can do’ attitude for those with disabilities and proving that nothing is impossible. Sport was just one aspect of the show with mobility, arts, recruitment, work and holiday also being represented.

It was here that Tanni met Martin who has been with the ECB since last year. His post was created when, for the first time, disability cricket was brought directly under the control of the ECB, and he has since worked throughout England and Wales to promote the game and get as many people involved as possible.

“Our main belief is that everybody who wants to play cricket can and should be able to get involved at any level," he said. "There is no reason for exclusion based on disability.

“Under the One Game pledge, people of all ages, races, sexes and abilities are encouraged and welcomed to play cricket. This conference is another example of our efforts to travel the country and get as many people involved in cricket as we possibly can.”

Martin has been impressed by the rise of other disabled sports and believes there is no reason why cricket cannot achieve something similar.

“In disability sport, athletics and basketball are huge, whereas in mainstream sport neither of them are as popular as cricket in England and Wales," he added. "We are now trying to adjust that throughout the country and raise the profile of disabled cricket for the future.

“There’s no reason why people with disabilities can’t pick up the game and get involved at local, regional or national level. Everyone is welcome to play the game and we shall be working as hard as possible to make sure that this is the case.”

The ECB One Game initiative, launched earlier this year, is an ambitious project aimed at widening the appeal of cricket throughout the country, aiming to ensure that everyone is welcome to get involved with the game regardless of age, gender, race or ability.

The Pledge, signed by many visitors at the event as well as Dame Grey-Thompson, has been signed by players, officials and employees at all levels of the game, celebrating and promoting its unique, equal and all-inclusive nature.

The initiative has given England and Wales the opportunity to be the leader in ensuring that these objectives are respected, observed and enforced. The philosophy applies to all players, officials and fans from playground to Test arena.