Katharine Heim, Wednesday 08 August 2012
Can’t get enough of the Olympics? No worries, just two weeks after the Olympic Games, London will be hosting the Paralympic Games starting on 29 August till 9 September.
The Paralympic Games started in 1948 as an organised sports competition involving World War II veterans. Over 60 years later the Paralympic Games thrives onward, with more athletes and teams competing than ever before.
The opening ceremony theme is enlightenment and will showcase skills of disabled artists and 3,000 adult volunteers including injured soldiers and past Paralympic athletes. Tune in at 20:30 to watch, ceremonies will be held at the Olympic Stadium in Stratford.
There are various categories of disabilities like visual impairment, limb deficiency or intellectual impairment etc. Each athlete is evaluated by the IPC (International Classification Panel) and classified to ensure fair and equal competition. Paralympic athletes are assessed for their ability - ability referring to an athlete’s functional potential, not an assessment of their disability.
Athletes to watch include South African Oscar Pistorius, a double leg amputee, who competed in the Men’s 400 metre race and will be competing again in the Paralympic Games. He is the one of the few athletes to compete in both the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and the first to do so in track and field.
Local Alexandra Rickham, who lives in Epsom, Surrey will be teaming up with Niki Birrell for their second attempt at gold in sailing. Rickham and Birrell took 5th in Beijing, and view team USA as their biggest rivals.
One of the most popular events is wheelchair basketball, often referred to as murder ball, which takes place on the exact same court size and basket height. 12 teams of men and women will compete in this dynamic, and at-times brutal sport.
Tickets are on sale now www.tickets.london2012.com/