Wow, wow, wow!!! Wasn’t it just brilliant?! I knew I was always going to enjoy watching it, but for the whole of the country to get behind the games was just amazing and exceeded expectation. I had tickets for three mornings of athletics, one set were given to me by UK Athletics and the other two sets I bought previously, as I wanted to watch what would have perhaps been my events. When I wasn’t in the jam packed stadium, I watched the athletics on Channel 4’s Extra platforms either at home or my coach had it on his laptop running whilst I trained. It was very surreal watching so many athletes I’ve raced and know, it honestly filled me with pride.
Team GB were exceptional and the level of competition absolutely phenomenal. It’s pretty clear that China rule disability sport, but that is understandable with a disabled population of sixty million! I came to quite enjoy listening to the Chinese national anthem, it’s catchy! I am really pleased that the next Olympics and Paralympics will be in Brazil though, not only because it’s hot, but because they already have an extremely strong Paralympic Team, so you just know that they will put on a great show too.
Going back to the standard of competition, in the T11 100m, not only was the world record broken and now stands at 12.01secs (set by the same girl I raced in May at the Paralympic Test event), in the heats five girls went sub 13secs right before my eyes. I have only just managed to start running sub 15secs consistently with a hell of a lot of hard work. It made me think for a split second that I can’t compete with them, but then why can’t I?! I don’t really know what makes them so much better than me, but I intend to work it out.
Last year I had a go at long jump, but gave it up after finding I was unable to run in a straight line consistently. To my surprise, when in the stadium watching the men’s F11 long jump and women’s F11/12 long jump, I discovered neither can any of the other totally blind athletes. So maybe I’ll pick it up again. My best was 3.21m off of seven strides, the others were doing double the amount of strides and jumping around 4m, which I don’t think is out of the realms of possibility for me at all.
I have to admit it was a bit gutting at times not competing, yet at the same time it has fuelled my hunger for success. I so desperately want to do what they were doing.
Channel 4 did a good job at hosting the games and I seriously hope that there will be coverage of the world champs next year, as well as extensive coverage of the next Paralympic Games in Rio 2016.
Sport doesn’t care who you are, anyone can take part!