Well it is Wednesday 29th August and a well earned rest day for me. The Paralympic Flame is making its way around the London Boroughs on its way to the Stadium for the Opening Ceremony so no training today.
Monday and Tuesday of this week saw me start my shifts at 7 30am and finishing around 3pm.
Monday. I was based at the Olympic warm up track. This was a very important day for some athletes as it was classification day for those who needed confirmation of their level of disability.
Classification is a unique element of Paralympic sports, intended to ensure fair competition. As each sport at the Paralympic Games requires different skills and competencies, the impact of impairment on the performance of the athletes varies. That’s why each sport has its own unique classification rules.
My task was to accompany the members of the Classification team and mark sections of track and throwing areas so they could assess athlete’s ability. At this point I must add my learning curve is at an arc, so high I can’t see it! I learned that some conditions change and so this changes the classification the athletes will compete in.
“T” class is track athletes, “ F” class is field athletes (throws, javelin, discus, shot and club) This took most of my morning shift. This was a very tense time for some athletes. I finished by helping meeting and greeting all the other teams scheduled to use the track. The Australian team arrived en mass in 2 buses, noisy and full of fun and mischief, hijacking 2 team tents and putting up flags everywhere! They were soon on the track in their wheelchairs whizzing around at manic speeds.
Tuesday. I was back at Mayesbrook Park. It’s much quieter here, well it was until we were informed the wheelchair rugby and the judo teams were arriving today as well as the track and field athletes.
The wheelchair rugby teams Belgium France and Japan were reasonably well behaved but we also had to help organise the delivery of all their competition chairs as they arrived in very large lorries!!!!!!!!! Then a flutter of excitement as TEAMGB were on the next bus. All the Games makers lined the entrance to the sports hall as they arrived. An enthusiastic welcome for them and what a welcome they had, waves, cheers, and they certainly knew who had arrived! I think they appreciated the reception. Oh, how I wish I had tickets to watch the matches.
Back to work on the track. It was a busy day of sorting out correct weights of discus, shot and javelin. (The learning curve going forever upwards) I had not realised how many different weights of shot and javelin, and smaller sizes for those with limited hand and arm strength.
Then needs must and the boring domestic boring things, like replacing towels in the changing rooms, replenishing refreshments areas, picking up the odd piece of litter, but its all “Paralympic stuff” so everything all adds to the perception of how we create a perfect Games.
Plus the fun as well, that everyone joins in with adding to the spirit of the games. I was soon doing a jig with the Nigerian Lady in her wheelchair to Nottinghill Carnival music. Then helping to find a lost chair, for the one and only athlete who has come from the Solomon Islands. Apparently she couldn’t afford proper equipment but in the training camp in Cardiff met a technician who made her a custom built piece of equipment, worked overnight and free of charge and presented it to her on her departure. So it had to be found. Thanks to lorry drivers, security guys and bus drivers it arrived safe and sound. Good luck to her in the games.
I must also say I am thankful to my son and his wife for putting up with the disruption I cause! Yes, getting my Son out of bed at 5am to drop me at the station for the 5.45 am train.
Signing out now.