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Disability History Month: An interview with Loughborough Para Sport athletes Jabe and Yasmina

30 November 2022

5 mins

Jabe Peake and Yasmina Eissa discuss what it is like to be a Para Sport athlete at Loughborough, as well as what they do as part of the Para Sport Exec Committee.

What do you study at Loughborough and what year are you in?

Jabe: I am studying Maths and I’m in my fourth year of a part-time undergraduate master’s degree.

Yasmina: I study Politics, Philosophy and Economics and I’m in my second year.

What sport have you participated in and how has Loughborough helped you on this journey?

Jabe: I am a Boccia athlete and have competed for England. I have not competed so much during my Loughborough journey but it’s great to still be involved in Para Sport and give back to the community.

Yasmina: I play Para-badminton representing Egypt at an international level in the SH6 (short stature) category. There is nowhere else I’d rather be on this journey than here. Loughborough has been very supportive of my athletic career, providing me with the necessary training and support to help me in achieving my goals. My coaches and teammates have all been amazing and I’m thankful for their support.

What is your current role on the Para Sport committee?

Jabe: I am the Student Advisory Group Co-ordinator responsible for forming a panel to advise on all things accessible around campus.

Yasmina: I’m the Vice Chair on the Para Sport exec.

How important is it that this committee has been formed to help enhance the Para athletes that we have here at Loughborough?

Jabe: It is so important as it gives Para athletes a voice and allows us to form a strategy as to how we can improve Para Sport at Loughborough.

Yasmina: I think the role that this committee plays for Para athletes is essential. It helps bring attention to how the different AU sports can be more accessible to everyone. It also gives Para athletes a point of contact for anything sports related and using our connections we do our best to meet each person’s needs. The committee acts as a voice for Para athletes and we work to make Loughborough as accessible as possible for others.

What does Disability History Month mean to you?

Jabe: It’s great to have a dedicated month to raise awareness of disability and continue the momentum of the Paralympic movement.

Yasmina: While there has been more attention and inclusivity for people with disabilities there is still a large gap. Having this month allows disabled people to shed light on their achievements and highlight where improvements in accessibility are needed.

The theme of Disability History Month this year is Disability, Health and Wellbeing – what do you do to look after your wellbeing?

Jabe: I am dedicated to my wellbeing and development. I’ve invested my time and energy into setting myself up in a way that I can perform at my best. I have really enjoyed listening to motivational and personal development books and podcasts as I truly believe I am on a journey and I strive to be the best person I can be.

Yasmina: One of the most important things I do to look after my wellbeing is making sure I have time for myself to have fun and do things beyond academics, societies and sport. This can be going out with friends to eat, sitting at home and watching movies or simply taking a walk. It’s easy to get caught up with everything and sometimes I forget to just pause and do something that’s care-free and that’s why at times I have to actually put it in my agenda otherwise I won’t end up doing it. 

Does sport play a role in looking after your wellbeing?

Jabe: Getting physical exercise keeps my body in a good condition and it’s also good for my mental wellbeing.

Yasmina: For me playing sports allows me to forget about everything going on and just focus on what I’m doing. It’s like taking a break from all the stress and busyness of life. 

What would your piece of advice be for anyone who feels like they cannot get involved in sport because of a disability?

Jabe: I used to think I couldn’t get involved in sport; then I found Boccia and a 10-year career started. Look for the opportunities. They won’t always be obvious but trust me they are around.

Yasmina: I think the nature of sport has drastically changed over the past few years and there has been a lot of adaptability to allow people of different disabilities to participate. Of course, there is still so much room for improvement, but things are going in the right direction. Unfortunately, it’s not often advertised so sometimes people are not aware of the options available for them. I would recommend choosing a sport and then checking the different offers they have. At Loughborough, the Para Sport Exec is always more than happy to help guide students in finding a sport that they can get involved in.

You can keep up to date with the Para Sport Exec Committee by following them on social media:

More information on Disability History Month at Loughborough University.

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