Am I the only one who enjoys the Paralympic more than the Olympics? I don’t know if it’s the different range of sports like Wheelchair rugby (Murderball), Blind Swimmers, Runners and Long Jumpers, my new Favourite sport, Goalball, I just find watching them more enjoyable than the Olympics.
Even when the Olympics came to Australia in 2000, I have more memories of the Wheelchair basketball, swimming and the Athletics competition than I do of the Olympics competition. I only remember a few football matches and I think I went to a night at the athletics.
Maybe it’s just that it’s not unusual to see athletes competing in the sports I’m most interested in at the Olympics, and even the new sports Surfing, BMX and Skateboarding. I watch enough of these sports during the year that to see it at the Olympics wasn’t as special. But you sit me down in front of the quads tennis and let me watch Dylan Alcott absolutely dominate in singles and doubles with his long-time friend and partner Heath Davidson and boy am i hooked.
The scenes I saw at the end of his semi-final match against the Netherlands Niels Vink, who has always admired Alcott will stick with me probably for the rest of my life. The emotion between the two at the end of the match was truly amazing, as Alcott consoles a clearly exhausted Vink and embraced him and comforted him with an embrace and warm words of encouragement and positivity, keep in mind, Vink is only 18-years old!. After the match Alcott said, “it was the best match I’ve ever been a part of” and “I was so proud of him”. A truly inspirational Australian athlete.
Then we have 20-year-old runner Isis Holt, who’s absolutely nailed it at this Paralympics. Winning silver in both the 100m T35 and 200m T35. And after her narrow loss in the 200m she produced one of the greatest responses I’ve heard this Paralympics and Olympics year. She said “If you’re not gunna be the one breaking the record and winning the gold medal. You might as well make the other runner work for it”. Such a great attitude to have, and one that will help her as she moves forward in the future. With that being said, Isis is definitely an athlete to keep tabs on in the future.
Next i want to talk about a local legend to the Sutherland shire, and possibly the individual athlete I’ve admired the most during these Paralympics, Daniel Michael. The man responsible for Australia’s 1st medal in Boccia in 25 years after winning the bronze medal game, beating Team Great Britain’s Scott McCowan 6-1 in the process. But also, the team’s first ever singles medal in Boccia. Special mention has to go to his trusted ramp assistant Ash McClure, and along side her, Daniel celebrated every good ball with some good old Aussie slang “Yeah Baby”, How can you not love that!
I’ll finish of this blog by mentioning quite possibly my new Favourite sport, and if you haven’t seen Goalball, do yourself a favour and check out a game during these Paralympics. It’s for Vision impaired athletes and consists of teams of three on the court, attempting to throw a ball with bells in it, into the opponent’s goal. And this Paralympics the Australian Belles got a win for the first time in 25 years and were on a historic run that saw them 1 win away from a semi-final. Unfortunately, they went down 10-6 to reigning Paralympic champions Turkey in what was a game where they pushed the champs to their limit. The scenes as they secured their first win in 25 years were enough to pique my interest, and add in the excitement as each ball is thrown, and the feeling while watching was is unbeatable.
They have definitely made a new fan in me and I’m sure Thousands of Aussies have found this sport now like me. I’m now looking into GoalBall premier league tournaments and anything I can set my eyes to. Legitimately for me Goalball is up there with wheelchair rugby as a highlight of the Paralympics now. Top stuff girls, you made Australia proud!
There are so many other athletes that have done Australia proud this Paralympic Games. And every one of our competitors whether they won a medal or not, should hold there heads up high and know that we as a country are immensely proud of there achievements. Why it took a pubic outcry to wake the Federal government in regards to paying the athletes the same as the Olympic team is amazing to me. But hey, at least they woke up to themselves in the end.