There is now a lot of publicity and coverage of the summer and winter Paralympics which coincide with the Olympics, but this has not always been the case.
Here is a list of games, showing when they started
|Sporting event||Year started|
|Modern Summer Olympics||1896|
|Modern Winter Olympics||1924|
|The silent games / now the Deaf Olympics||1924|
|Commonwealth Games with disabled inclusion||1994|
“How can disabled people do a sport!?”
When I hear people with any disability mention to people, that they engage in a sport a person will say “how can you still do that?”. Although it is good that they take an interest, it still surprises me.
The drive and determination on all athletes, is with them, along with lots of trials, stress and energy to overcome, no matter in which category of Olympian you are. Just because of a disability, focus and dedication are what drives people.
Just thinking of the comment: “wow, how do you do that?” Were there not thousands of people who said that about Usain Bolt, for example?
Running the 100 metres in a world record time of 9.572seconds. In addition, people also said that a tall person could not run sprints fast.
My experience with sports as a blind person
I carried on horse riding when I lost my sight in 1999, I got back on a horse in January 2000.
It took me six months, to be able to enter a competition at the RDA (riding for the disabled) I did not know what to expect, but to my amazement, I won both of my classes.
From this, I entered competitions against non-disabled people. My best achievement being second. I have now stopped horse riding and started up Archery.
The horse riding was a little bit easier in one way, as this was my career and only had to adjust to my new circumstances.
Now with Archery, I had never had a go, but have a picture of a bow and arrow, along with the target, although like all sports, it is more difficult than you think.
How do I do Archery as a blind person?
I use a tactile sight, which comprises of a piece of wood where it straddles the shooting line, along with my feet indicators. Which in turn allow me to know where the shooting line is and the general direction of the boss (target).
Attached to the end of the feet indicators, is a tactile sight, which can be raised to the height that the hand should be at, to indicate the distance. Along with this equipment, is an important part of any sport, especially for people with a disability. You are asking yourself “what is this?”.
Well, it is people, volunteers. For myself, it is not actually the sport, it is the: travelling to the venue, placing the tactile sight on the shooting line, then guiding me to that line. In addition, telling me how well I am doing with each arrow I shoot.
Now, this is for my sport with my disability, there are diffident methods of support that all sports people must have, but people with a disability rely on the volunteers to get to achieve their goal.
How can you help disabled sports?
Have you thought of volunteering? You could be involved in sport and not necessarily be active in sport yourself and be part of a team.
In addition, the way I can play this sport is by someone designing a method on how to achieve it, in my case, a tactile sight – then it is down to me to better myself from this method of assistance. Sometimes, it just needs someone to come up with an improvement in accommodating all sportspeople.
Can you volunteer, or have ideas on how everyone can take up a sport if they want to?