UK broadcaster Channel 4 has announced that its coverage of the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games will be fronted by a team consisting entirely of disabled anchors and pundits.
In what it described as a “global first” for a world-class sporting event, the network’s line-up will include former champions presenting on the ground in China when the games begin next month.
A daily highlights show will be helmed by Ade Adepitan, an award-winning host and wheelchair basketball player, Channel 4 said in a press release Monday.
Paralympic champion triathlete Lauren Steadman will host the breakfast show alongside quadriplegic former professional rugby player Ed Jackson.
Steadman took home a gold medal victory from the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics and also won silver at the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio.
The presenting line-up also includes recently retired Paralympic swimmer Ellie Robinson, who won gold at the 2016 Rio Games aged just 15. She will be joined by British racing car driver Billy Monger.
Former sit-skier Sean Rose has been recruited as a pundit, and Channel 4’s overnight sports coverage will be led by Tokyo 2020 presenter Arthur Williams.
Ian Katz, Channel 4’s director of programs, said in a statement that the move is “testament to the brilliant disabled presenting talent we have in the UK and underlines our commitment to providing opportunities for people with disabilities and making our output truly representative of the entire population.”
Andrew Parsons, the president of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), praised the channel as “a world-leading organization in disability inclusion” that had “improved the broadcast landscape on para sports.”
He added: “This latest landmark decision is important because representation matters. There are over 15 per cent of persons in Great Britain with a disability and they should be able to switch on a TV and see wonderfully ordinary persons with disabilities like them in front of the camera. This is change starting with sport.”
The Beijing Paralympic Games will take place from March 4 to 13.