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Why the Paralympics is important to me by Wendy Hind





Many people see the Paralympics as adjacent to the main event. For me it is very much the other way round. I wanted to share some thoughts I have when I see these athletes.

I know some of their backgrounds which allows me to understand a little of the uphill extra work they have to put in just to be recognised in their sport. A previous work colleague who is an IT specialist will be competing in the Boccia challenge (A sport where even with the most profound disability you can still take part)

Particularly with Dressage, I am aware just how hard it is to control, guide and encourage a tonne of horse to do what you are asking when you have Cerebral Palsy. I’ve had to quit riding, so I cheer the team on, do have a look at the classifications as it’s really interesting how that works

The government provides next to no funding – the families have to find a lot of very deep pockets with a lot of sponsorships and many of these athletes also have full-time/part-time jobs. If you google Sophie Christianson as a public figure, she has a 1st Class pure mathematics degree and works in London as a statistician coding and computer programming work.

The athletes when they get home often find that their disability payments get stopped because they have been seen competing in Tokyo – or wherever – for their country and when they return have subsequently lost their blue badge and motability vehicle as a result

Wheelchairs which are essential get lost/damaged in transit due to airline handling of disability equipment which renders them unable then to compete and costs a fortune for replacement and time stress and money

Finally – one of the deaf/blind athletes who were due to compete this year in the swimming was told she could not take her assistant/PA/mother as there wasn’t enough spaces!

So when I watch these amazing, driven athletes I don’t see they are disabled, I see they against the odds, can still smash records, compete on the world stage, despite all that gets thrown at them by society. Ellie Simmonds is my hero, she is just under my height, yet look at her go in the pool!

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I take more note of the Paralympics to main Olympics. I watch the last leg that covers the triumphs and updates as easier to me trying to watch it otherwise. These ladies and gents I think generally do better somehow and achieved so much and overcome so much in their training and skills. It is so wrong that many like other genuine cases then worry about these assessments and whether the vital link for some may be a car or other things in the allowances they are entitled to. Like many of the genuine people out there who rely on this to help them achieve a good full life. Am in total agreement to weeding out them who work the…


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Everyone who is competing in these games has had to overcome so many hurdles they are true role models for everyone,

Women's sport was never given much recognition until relatively recently and I am pleased to see how this has progressed'

Let us hope these Paralympian athletes succeed in getting the credit they deserve. We were bombarded with hours of coverage of the Olympic Games on mainstream television - very unfair compared to the coverage we get of the Paralympics.

The public glory in the number of medals these wonderful people bring home. Let's hope they are rewarded for their efforts by getting the funding they deserve,

.Well done Wendy for highlighting the difficulties these people face.

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Olga S
Olga S
Aug 26, 2021

Wendy, this is right after my own heart - I'm so with you on recognising the courage and extra determination of the amazing Paralympian athletes and all it takes them to reach these levels. Thanks too for heightening my/our awareness by highlighting some outstanding individuals and their specific challenges.

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