Today marks 400 days to go until the start of the London 2012 Paralympics. Instead of harping on about my aspiration to be there, I thought I would write a short post on why YOU should be there as a spectator!
Many of the Paralympic sports are the same as the Olympic ones, such as athletics, swimming and cycling, but may have slight modifications including a guide runner for visually impaired athletes, no diving into the pool for some physical disabilities and hand cycles for wheelchair users in order to make the sport accessible. There are also some events, which are exclusive to the Paralympics, such as goalball, boccia and the club throw. Likewise there are some sports, which are excluded for obvious reasons like the pole vault, synchronised swimming and wrestling!
If you are a fan of a sport that has a Paralympic equivalent, then there is no reason why you wouldn’t find it fulfilling to watch. You may not know the athletes by name, but you know who you’re supporting, Great Britain! Surely it would be fascinating to watch the blind football team’s amazing spacial awareness, as well as their advanced football skills. Imagine watching an athlete that can’t walk, but can glide through the pool at exceptional speed. Perhaps wheelchair basketball would take your fancy, as they can dribble as well as control their wheelchair at the same time. Then there are the amputee cyclists who are so fast that they have represented their country in the able bodied version. Wouldn’t it be spectacular to watch a bunch of totally blind athletes run full pelt in the direction of a sand pit and leap to massive distances?The list is endless!
Disability sport is just as competitive as able bodied sport and the standard exceptionally high. Athletes train just as hard as their able bodied peers and don’t allow their disability to hold them back in any way. Whether visually impaired, have CP,missing a limb, is a wheelchair user or have any other physical disability, one thing is for certain they all have the same hunger to succeed, pride to represent their country and self-determination to push their body beyond its limits!
Paralympic sport is unique!