Accentuate funding secured major disability sporting events for the region, such as the Disabled British Open (DBO) Golf Championship and IPC Shooting World Cup. The inaugural DBO Golf Championship took place in August 2009 at the Old Thorns Golf Club in Hampshire, and was the first truly pan-disability golf event in the UK. It has been run in the region ever since and now attracts competitors from the all over the world, providing a showcase for their talent, and the South East’s commitment to furthering disabled sports and leaving a lasting legacy within the region for future generations.
The DBO Golf Championship is seen by many as a ‘game changer’, providing the starting point for something new and helping create a ‘bridge’ between the major golf organisations and disabled golfers. The number of competitors has grown steadily and the event was oversubscribed in 2012. A Junior Open was established in 2011 which has proved equally successful.
Media coverage for the DBO was substantial from the start, and has grown steadily. The tournament is shown around the world on Sky Sports TV, BBC News and ITV. It also receives radio coverage, along with print and online coverage. The estimated media value for coverage of the DBO over 3 years exceeded £750k. In 2010, an audit of the value of media coverage generated by the event amounted to £385,925, including:
The English Golf Union fully supports the event and there are high profile sports personalities involved with legendary BBC golf commentator Peter Alliss being the guest of honour in 2011. About 140 volunteers are involved in supporting the event.
The Disabled British Open has provided the opportunity for many to increase their knowledge base and develop their skills, including organisers, staff at the venue and volunteers. The main areas of learning were:
The future looks bright for the Disabled British Open Golf Championship. Its growing profile has helped attract a lead sponsor for 2012, yourgolftravel.com. In 2016 golf is a trial event for the Olympics and Paralympics and there are currently very few elite Paralympic golfers in the UK.
‘The Disabled British Open Golf Championship is a fantastic example of how Britain can stage a world-class event for disabled athletes competing at the highest level. As a nation we should be very proud of the awareness this event has created, and the legacy of opportunities within sport for disabled people’.
Jeremy Hunt. Secretary of State for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.
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Image by Steve Bailey
Image by Steve Bailey