The Amputee at the Paralympics

Months ago I entered a competition in ‘PosAbility’ Magazine that was being run by Poweade. It was to win tickets for the Paralympics, I knew I wouldn’t win but there were also Powerade bottles for loads of runners up that I thought I might win. A few weeks ago to, my surprise and delight, I won tickets to the first session of the Athletics at the Paralympic Stadium on Friday evening. Having had issues with the tickets (the original ones were not for a wheelchair seat) Powerade were brilliant, I would like to say a special thank you to Simon who was brilliant, he even met us at the park and handed me the tickets.

I had pre-booked a disabled parking space through First Group Games Travel and the traffic was amazingly light the whole journey. As soon as we hit the car park every transition through the park to the seat was smooth. Obviously with a wheelchair and replacement knee I set off the airport style alarm so was searched, which was fine. I didn’t see quite as many wheelchair users as I thought I would but there were plenty about. The whole place was amazingly wheelchair and disabled friendly from terrain to facilities.

You can’t appreciate the scale of the park and stadiums until you are standing amongst them but it is still nice and compact. The volunteers are amazing and just help to enhance the whole experience of the day. Around 80,000 in the stadium and the atmosphere was electric. When watching the opening and closing ceremonies you get the impression that if you are sitting in the gods you don’t really see the much. Not the case, were half way up the stadium and had a great view and you didn’t feel that high up at all. The noise was phenomenal but at that the start of a race it went so quiet it was quite an eerie feeling.  We witnessed the first GB Gold Medal in Athletics by Hannah Cockroft in the 100m Wheelchair race. We saw the amazing David Weir in the 5000m Wheelchair heat and a few lesser-known GB athletes in heats. One of the highlights was right at the end of the evening when there was only about a quarter of the crowd left. Alexey Ashapatov, Russian discus thrower, had already won the Gold Medal but decided to take his last three throws. With the crowd behind him on his very last throw he threw an incredible 60.72m smashing the existing World Record.

If I’d have had the choice I would not have picked Athletics as something to go and watch.  I had an amazing time though and now when I see the Athletics coverage on the TV I still find it hard to believe that I was there and part of these outstanding games. Obviously I would like to thank ‘PosAbility’ Magazine and Powerade for running the Competition and the amazing experience it allowed me to be part of.


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