Praise for paralympians as Karen Adam MSP leads her first debate

Local MSP Karen Adam led her first debate in the Scottish Parliament when she lodged a motion to recognise the 33 Scots who competed in the recent Tokyo Paralympics.

By Kevin McRoberts
Thursday, 16th September 2021, 6:45 am
Karen Adam MSP praised the Scots in the GB Paralympics team.
Karen Adam MSP praised the Scots in the GB Paralympics team.

The motion highlights the positive impact and inspiring endeavours that Paralympians have on people living in Scotland.

The Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP keenly highlighted how the Paralympics raises awareness about a multitude of disabilities.

However, she also spoke about the additional challenges many people with disabilities can face in regard to sport participation.

Ms Adam – who made history as the first MSP to take the parliamentary affirmation in British Sign Language (BSL) – emphasised the barriers that Deaf people still face in relation to sport.

She said: “It would be remiss of me not to mention the challenges faced by the Deaf community when it comes to participation.

"They themselves, although unable to take part in the Paralympics unless they have another disability, still face disadvantage when it comes to participating in sports.

"I hope this is something I can use my platform as a child of a Deaf adult, or a CODA, to highlight during my time in parliament.”

The motion recognised how the Paralympics play a positive part in raising awareness about disabilities and thanks participants for their role in the games.

Ms Adam spoke highly of the achievements of three particular Scottish Paralympians who made a big impact during the Tokyo Paralympics.

She continued: “Cyclist Neil Fachie is one of our most celebrated Paralympians – indeed one of our most decorated athletes in general.

"He has an astonishing number of medals from the Paralympics, the Track World Championships and the Commonwealth Games. In Tokyo he claimed another gold.

“Also, swimmer Toni Shaw is someone who has been massively successful recently during the European and World Para Championships. Toni also came home from Tokyo with a bronze.

“The third athlete from the North East I want to mention is swimmer Conner Morrison from Turriff.

"Conner started out with the Garioch Gators in Inverurie, progressed to the University of Aberdeen performance programme and has been a medal winner at the World Para Swimming European Championships, also domestically.

“Interviewed before the games Conner was realistic about his medal hopes, and said he was going to Tokyo for the experience, and ‘to put the best version of myself out there’.

"He qualified from the heat to reach the final of the S14 100m breaststroke. No medal this time but this motion is about the positive impact and inspiring endeavours that Conner and his fellow athletes have on people in Banffshire & Buchan Coast, around the rest of Scotland, and beyond.”

Overall, the Scots on the Paralympics GB team celebrated 21 medals, as well as a host of record and personal best performances in a truly inspiring display after a pandemic-hit preparation.

The Scottish tally in Tokyo tops the 17 medals won at Rio 2016, and is the best since Sydney 2000,