WITH less than two weeks to go until the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games get under way, the showcase of ParaSports will reach new heights following the success of the Paralympics at London 2012.
The forthcoming Commonwealth Games will also be a platform to widen opportunities for people with disabilities to get involved in sports in Scotland too.
This biggest sporting event Scotland will ever have staged will also be a leverage to encourage participation in sports and to signify that people with disabilities can be integrated into a mainstream event.
Recently, I was invited to the Scottish Parliament to meet with Shona Robison MSP, the Cabinet Secretary for Commonwealth Games, Sport and Equalities to discuss the ParaSports in relation to Glasgow 2014.
She believed that the ParaSports being integrated into the Games is a huge opportunity for the Para-Sports movement to build on. It will also send out a message to our seventeen sporting governing bodies to encourage clubs and sports centres to make accessibility possible.
Glasgow 2014 will be delivered on time and on budget. Shona mentioned that all the sporting venues have been opened for well over a year now so the public have had the opportunity to use them.
On the subject of accessibility, the CEO of Glasgow 2014, David Grevemberg previously came from the International Paralympics Committee.
He had accessibility at the forefront of his mind and his role has been important. He gets it - the need to understand, prioritise and embed equalities into areas within Glasgow 2014. The partners, Glasgow City Council and Scottish Government have also had to ensure that their focus lies on accessibility too.
There are one million disabled people in Scotland and Shona says "that is a huge opportunity and a market that we need to cater for."
The 2015 post Millennium Development Goals development framework provides us a reference point too on sports, health and well-being.
For the forthcoming year, the Scottish Government will be rolling a big programme called the Disability Delivery Plan which will cover three areas and one of them will be Sports and Leisure.
After the Games, we have to ensure the legacy work continues. There are currently more than fifty national programmes being supported by Legacy 2014.
Sports clubs will have to become more open and welcoming for people with disabilities.
All the sporting governing bodies in Scotland have a requirement to report to SportScotland to ensure that they are meeting the governance, participation and performance criteria in order to qualify for funding.
Physical Education in schools is being addressed with more than 1500 PE teachers undertaking disability and inclusivity training to give them the confidence to break down the barriers and integrate children with disabilities into sporting activities that they can enjoy alongside their peers.