By Tom Degun

NatashaBakerNovember 6 - London 2012 Paralympic champions Natasha Baker and Mark Colbourne have become the latest athletes to throw their support behind the first ever ParalympicsGB Sports Fest next month.

Sports Fest, which is design to be a festival of Paralympic Sport, is set to take place at the Surrey Sports Park in Guildford on December 3 and 4.

It will provide information and come-and-try opportunities on both summer and winter Paralympic sports as well as opportunities to meet the ParalympicsGB stars from London 2012.

London 2012 Paralympic dressage champion Baker (pictured above) and cycling champion Mark Colbourne follow sprint star Jonnie Peacock in pledging their support for the Sports Fest, which has been devised by the British Paralympic Association (BPA).

"I remember very clearly watching the 2000 Paralympic Games on TV and saying to my parents 'I want to do that''," said Baker, who took up riding after watching Lee Pearson compete at Sydney 2000.

"I found my local club and went from there and now I've got two gold medals.

"I really hope that there are people out there who watched me, or other Paralympians, compete in London and who have turned to their families or friends and said 'I want to give that a go'.

"To all of those people, I'd say please register for the Sports Fest.

"It is a fantastic opportunity to find out more about lots of Paralympic sports in one go – including equestrian - and to see how you can get involved."

Colbourne (pictured below), a keen sportsman before he broke his back in a paragliding accident in May 2009, was equally enthusiastic.

Mark ColbourneSport has changed his life, Mark Colbourne believes

"I am happy to be supporting the ParalympicsGB Sports Fest because I believe that sport has really changed my life", said the Welshman, who won a gold medal and two silver at London 2012. 

"After I was injured, I wasn't sure how active I could be and I was nervous about putting myself out there.

"I would say to all disabled people who aren't sure about sport or who are worried, just give it a go and see what happens.

"It can be difficult to overcome all those worries but it is worth it if you find something you really enjoy.

"Once I'd built up the nerve to try disability sport, I had a go at several different things before I found something that I really loved: cycling."

The BPA is working with National Governing Bodies and other key partners such as the Home Nation Disability Sport Federations to provide information to all comers on how to get involved, including those interested in getting involved in wider areas such as coaching and volunteering.

BPA performance director Penny Briscoe is pleased that the festival has already attracted high profile supporters.

"It is great to see that the festival is being well received by the athletes and that we have fantastic athletes such as Mark and Natasha who are supporting it," she said.

"These are athletes who have watched the Paralympic Games, been inspired by the achievements of Paralympians, and decided to give disability sport a go.

"Now they have represented their country on the biggest stage of all and won Paralympic gold medals.

"Mark and Natasha are therefore perfectly placed to encourage other people to try out sport, because it is a path that they have been on themselves."

ParalympicsGB Sports Fest, which is free to attend, features activities such as come-and-try sessions and information stands for almost all of the 22 summer and three winter sports in the Paralympic Games.

Anyone interested in attending can register by clicking here

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

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