Arthur Williams: Paralympic events can only get bigger and better
The Games were the time of our lives, magical. People just couldn’t get enough of it
Saturday 20 July 2013
I remember when the Paralympics finished, it was a bit like standing at the edge of the dock, watching the sun set and thinking, “Bugger, what am I going to do now?”
The Games were absolutely phenomenal, the time of our lives and, frankly, it went better than any of us could ever have hoped. It was just magical.
For the first time in its 60-year history, the Paralympics were truly the parallel Games. One of the biggest bits of feedback I got from people was that they couldn’t get enough of it.
It’s been nearly 12 months since Channel 4 was properly able to showcase the Paralympic talent at a major championships, so people’s attention has probably turned away from Paralympic sport, but I think that will return with the IPC Athletics World Championships, which get under way this weekend.
People really bought into the Paralympics, to all the personalities and their backstories, and those same contenders will be back again, the Jonnie Peacocks and Hannah Cockrofts.
There are two notable names missing, David Weir and Oscar Pistorius, but since those Games we have a whole host of new household names people are interested in seeing.
What would be good is if your average Joe was in the pub having a pint, chatting about the latest Paralympic grand prix and saying stuff like, “I’m going for Weir in this one”. We’re not at that stage yet but we could be by the next Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Paralympic sport can only get bigger and better. There are more kids out there and there’s more funding in schools and sports classes across the country that encourage not just children but people of all ages and disabilities to give it a go.
People ask me about whether the Paralympics has changed people’s perceptions. I can only speak for myself and not the masses. I’ve been in a wheelchair for six years and I’ve never been on the bad end of prejudice or nasty words, so in that regard there’s not been any change and that’s good.
There’s a chance this summer both with the IPC Worlds and the London Anniversary Games back at the Olympic Stadium for fans to see those stars that made last summer. I’m certain people will get back into it.
Daily live coverage of the IPC Athletics World Championships starts at 2.15pm today until next Saturday, on More4
Arthur Williams is a presenter on Channel 4 presenter and ex-Paralympian
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