As most of you will know, I was fortunate enough to be in London for much of the Paralympic Games (29.08.12-09.09.12) including the Opening Ceremony. I had an accreditation to the ExCel, where of course the table tennis was staged, the Olympic Park, Paralympics GB House and some rather nice “Paralympics Family” lounges.
Besides being there in my role as vice chairman of the BTTAD (British Table Tennis Association for people with Disabilities), I also acted as “mentor” to two young squad players who are likely to be in line for Rio 2016, on the Paralympic Inspiration Programme; this is an initiative by Paralympics GB to prepare young athletes for their first Olympic Games. Many first time Paralympians have said that their first Paralympics were so different from any other international competition that they had experienced, that they had been overawed and perhaps had not performed at their best because of this. The young players from across the spectrum of Paralympic sports were first taken the pre-games holding camp at the same time that the Paralympians were there and during the games were taken to a number of different sports, the Paralympic Village, the Olympic Park and Paralympics GB House. There were also workshops to prepare them for things like doping control, media exposure, acclimatization to different countries and performing in a huge multi-sports celebration such as the Paralympics or Commonwealth Games.
While back at the ExCel arena, it was nice to see some familiar faces in the crowd – Sue, Andrew, Peter and Matthew Daish, J D Marshall from Bournemouth Sports as well as many friends from the ETTA and other players.
GB did ourselves proud staging these 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games and the feedback I had from all the overseas competitors , officials and volunteers was 100% positive; the “Indian Summer” we all longed for happened, the Paralympics were a sell out and the atmosphere at the venues was like a huge party; I hope that you enjoy these images.