Boris Johnson and David Cameron, who were there to champion the day, couldn’t resist joining in a few matches! Check out this video I found on Sky News of them taking part in a game of wheelchair tennis.
Tickets for the 2012 Paralympics Games go on sale today (9th September 2011), until 26th September 2011. Visit the official 2012 Paralympics Games website to register.
Have you been watching That Paralympic Show? In a countdown to the 2012 Paralympics, Channel 4 are now airing a second series – yeah! A lively and refreshing look at everything Paralympic, the show follows athletes through training and participation in a range of Paralympic sports.
For those not familiar with Paralympic sports, the show gives a unique ‘insight into the unbelievable ambition and talent of Great Britain’s Paralympic athletes‘. The show, presented mainly by Rick Edwards and Ade Adepitan, has a light-hearted, fun feel to it, in the style of T4. Hopefully, its cool approach to Paralympic sports will encourage youngsters, and everyone really, to get involved, whether that be participating or watching. I know I’ll be glued to the TV in 2012!
So watch out for silly costumes, fun challenges and some very sexy athletes! Visit 4oD to catch up on previous episodes and for more information.
15-year-old Lauren Jones has climbed the World Wheelchair Tennis Rankings to reach the top 20, and is now also in the top 3 for Great Britain. Even more astonishing is that fact that Lauren only started playing tennis in March last year, after becoming paralysed.
Lauren is now paralysed from the waist down after falling from a tree in June 2009. During her recovery period at the Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Buckinghamshire, Lauren used sport, and in particular tennis, to aid her progress.
Her mother said; ‘We’re absolutely elated and can’t believe how far she’s come so quickly. But for Lauren, she’s not satisfied yet. She feels she’ll be happy when she’s number one.’
Her family is still fund-raising to fund a new wheelchair and home access for Lauren. If you would like to donate, please visit their Just Giving page.
Danielle, age 22, has reflex sympathetic dystrophy which gives her constant pain and means she cannot stand for long periods of time. Despite this, Danielle conjured up the strength to not only stand, but also compete, leaning for support on a stool specially made for her at Loughborough University. Having battled an undiagnosed illness for years as a teenager, it just goes to show that determination and talent are what matters.
Keep your eyes peeled when watching the Commonwealth Games as there are a number of Para-Sports such as table tennis and swimming.
Have you ever wondered what enables people with severe disabilities to perform to such astonishing athletic levels ready for the 2012 paralympics? Then watch Channel 4′s Inside Incredible Athletes with fascinating insights into not only a range of paralympic sports, but also how these sporting giants are able to achieve.
Examining five different paralympic sports; swimming, wheelchair rugby, blind football, horseriding and blade running, it questions how these athletes manage to perform despite impairments. How is it possible for someone to play football blind? How, if the muscles around their lungs don’t work to inflate them properly, can someone exert themselves in a wheelchair? When a swimmer’s cerebral palsy means one side of her body is weaker than the other, why is her best stroke a symmetrical one?
Looking at the biology behind how these athletes’ bodies work, the programme concludes that disabilities can sometimes be beneficial in the pursuit of sporting excellence as they are seen to “break through the predicted limits.” Let me explain.. as an example, with the wheelchair rugby, tests show that using a wheelchair is faster than running on foot and requires less energy and is thus more efficient – when used by someone who is highly trained of course. Or running on a blade can be faster as it is able to pick up more momentum than a foot which can slow a person down.
Horserider Lee Pearson, who was born with arthrogryposis multiplex congenita meaning he has reduced joint mobility, often competes against able-bodied riders and wins. His astounding ability comes from years of training and strengthening the part of his body that he can control, his hips.
Examples like these show how we are able to adapt and sometimes improve on what we have. It’s all a case of technique, development and most importantly adaptation; “you look at reality you can’t change things it’s just how you deal with them… You have two options, you can do f**k all, or you can do everything you want… why would you want to miss such opportunities” (Mandip Sehmi).
So whether you are an avid paralympic sports fan, or curious of how it all works, you’ll be amazed by the achievements of these athletes. They make seemingly impossible tasks look easy, I mean who can say they have competed at Olympic level! As one wheelchair rugby player so poignantly states, “it shouldn’t have taken me the loss of two 3rds of my body to make the most of the last 3rd, but it did” (Steve Brown).
It may seem ages away, two years in fact, but London mayor Boris Johnson did all he could yesterday to publicise the impending 2012 Paralympic Games by playing Boccia with Paralympian Ade Adepitan in Trafalgar Square.
They were also joined by 21-year-old David Smith, a Boccia gold medalist, and some children hoping to get into the game. Cheeky Boris had to be reprimanded at one point by Ade for edging forward and not sitting back in his chair! Take a look at the VIDEO on the BBC website.
15-year-old Eleanor Simmonds, a double Paralympic Champion, triumphed with a total of 4 gold’s; “I was so nervous before the race because I really wanted to go and win and get the record. I am really happy to be on top of the podium again. I went into it thinking that it was going to need a world record to win that race and to do that is great.”
Other teenagers to do their parents proud were 19-year-old Thomas Young and Harriet Lee who won the 400m freestyle 100m breaststroke.
Also coming out smiling was Sascha Kindred who continued his unbeaten run in the 200m individual medley, while Daniel Pepper scooped gold in the 100m breaststroke on the final day.
So the world better watch out for us Brits in the 2012 Paralympics!
Have you been caught up in this years Wimbledon hype? If so, I do hope you watched the wheelchair doubles matches, both women’s and men’s.
If you missed the action, visit BBC iPlayer to catch up on the Wimbledon matches.
Find out more about wheelchair tennis by visiting the ITF wheelchair tennis website.
Although us Brits didn’t win any medals at the Winter Paralympics, I still recommend watching the highlights show on BBC iplayer, as well as catching up with your favourite sporting events on Paralympic Sport TV.
In case you are wondering, the Russian Federation came out top overall with 38 medals in total. Germany came second scoring 24 medals, and Canada, the hosting country, came third with 19 medals. For full details of the winning teams take a look at the official Vancouver 2010 website.
And to supplement your desire for Winter Paralympic imagery, take a look at these amazing images of the games.
Imagine my irritation when, after looking forward to watching the opening ceremony of the winter Paralympic games tonight, I realised it’s not being shown on any accessible TV channel in the UK. For many of you I’m sure you don’t need to picture the frustration as you’re thinking the same thing!
But all is not lost… as the events proceed Paralympic Sport TV will be streaming the games- phew! You may be a little aggrivated by the hiccups in reception and frequent advertisements. But it also gives some inspirational accounts of athletes stories, and details of the games from the competitors themselves - definitely worth the watch.
So for those of you unsure what events our 12 strong British Paralympic team will be involved in, they are as follows:
Alpine skiing – where competitors ski down vertical drops ranging from 120 to 800 metres, at speeds of up to 100 kilometres an hour.
Cross-country skiing – participants ski over distances between 2.5 kilometres to 20 kilometres. “Racers use two basic techniques in cross-country: classical, where the skis move parallel to each other through machine-groomed tracks in the snow, and free technique where skiers propel themselves in a manner similar to speed skating, pushing off with the edge of their skis.” (The official Vancouver 2010 website explained that so much better than I could of!). There is also a relay version of this event.
Biathlon – this combines cross-country skiing and rifle shooting where skiers shoot targets from short or long distances depending on their discipline.
These 3 sports categorise the skiers in 3 ways- visually impaired, sitting or standing. “Visually impaired skiers use the same equipment as able-bodied skiers but ski with a guide. Standing skiers are skiers with a locomotive disability and who are able to use the same equipment as able-bodied skiers. Sit-skiers usually have no use of their legs (paraplegic) and use a special made sit-ski (a specially built chair attached to a pair of skis).” (Vancouver 2010)
Ice hockey – varies from the non-Paralympic version only in so far as participants skate on boards which have two blades, and instead of one stick they use two; one to propel themselves along the ice, and the other to hit the puck.
Wheelchair curling – again very similar to the Olympic version, except no sweeping is involved, thus making the precision of the throw all the more important.
I hope you enjoy!