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Para-sports: Looking forward to the main event

The main difference between the para-sports programme in Glasgow and the 2012 London Paralympics is that the competition will be held alongside the main event.

This should help to get people interested in watching disability sports, with swimming, athletics, lawn bowls and, for the first time, track cycling, all featuring.

This will be the first disability sporting event in Glasgow since the Special Olympics in 2005. I went along to the opening ceremony then and I remember the excitement of both the spectators and competitors. This is another fantastic opportunity to showcase para-sport and disabled athletes.

What was so exciting about the London Paralympics was the excellent TV coverage, bringing the excitement right into people's living rooms and I hope the same will prove true for the Commonwealth Games. Channel 4 did such a superb job and I'm hopeful the BBC, who have the rights for Glasgow 2014, will cover the para-sports in the same manner. It will give people a great insight into what some have to go through on a day-to-day basis and show that no matter what disability a person may have they can still cope and indeed compete at a high level.

This is why disability sport needs to be treated seriously. We live in a diverse world and everyone needs to learn that those with a disability are still just people. We're not different. I don't like the words "different" and "normal". What does that mean? As sports people we should all come together.

One of the key benefits of para-sport is that it helps prove that disabilities needn't be a barrier in life. I have cerebral palsy and that hasn't stopped me participating in sport. I am a member of a football team and I love it. We get a lot of guys coming along who are desperate to play, which is great, and there are many benefits besides the obvious ones of health and fitness. Perhaps the most important is that it shows them what they are capable of and allows them to believe in themselves. It's also a great way to socialise and make friends as well as having fun. Because people with a disability can often feel excluded in society, sport is a great way of helping them feel they belong.

I also coach a football team. I love teaching people new skills. I suppose I'm like any other coach, wanting everyone to do well. I want the players to enjoy it, but more importantly I hope it gives them confidence.

London 2012 showed there is a great interest in para-sport and I hope the Glasgow Games will build on this and inspire others to follow in the footsteps of Ellie Simmonds and David Weir.

Let's hope the athletes get the media coverage and support they deserve.

o Michael McEwan is a presenter with Able Radio and a columnist for Learning Disability Today magazine.

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