Broadcasters must seize on this surge in interest

Our writer, who broke limbs in a cycling accident over a year ago, says an amazing thing happened to him over the past fortnight

Share

I will remember these Paralympics for the rest of my life because during them something amazing happened. My right foot, dead for over a year, twitched as a muscle in my calf suddenly woke from its lengthy sleep.

Nerves are funny things. Did the excitement and the adrenaline of the last week help to clear a blockage or open a new pathway? Could the Paralympic sports I tried, the wheelchair tennis and basketball which worked muscles I didn't know existed, have roused it from sleep? 

Probably it was just time for that small part of me to emerge from hibernation, sealing another small victory in the battle to overcome my disabilities.

The Games helped that battle by keeping my aims high. The athletes were an inspiration. I've also detected some encouraging signs that the attitude people have towards disabled people generally might be changing. I rather hope this might be felt by the Coalition and its creature, Atos, the next time a terminally ill cancer patient is denied support.

But at their core, the Games were an intense and competitive sporting spectacular, the equal of the Olympics that went before them.

The eyes of people I've bumped into and chatted with about them weren't just opened by the incredible things people with less than fully functional bodies can achieve. They were also opened by some thrilling sporting contests.

The question being asked by broadcasters now is whether the unprecedented level of interest in disability sport is an anomaly created by the fact that the Games were in London.

I don't think it is. The crowds I witnessed were passionate, partisan and engaged. Just as they were during the Olympics. Murderball or Wheelchair Rugby, was the hottest ticket in a town that has a multitude of attractions. The Wheelchair Basketball from which it emerged, drew rave reviews.

And why not? Wheelchair Basketball at its best is every bit as balletic as the able bodied equivalent is at its best and the bash and crash of the chairs adds extra spice.

As for the classifications used in disability sports that can cause confusion and sometimes controversy? They're just part of these games' rich tapestry. And they add an interesting bit of tactical chess to the team sports.

But now I want to see whether Aaron Phipps, David Anthony, Kylie Grimes and the rest can take a wheel forward in wheelchair rugby and serve it up to the US and Australia.

I want to see Terry Bywater, Abdi Jama and the rest of the wheelchair basketball crew bringing their run of defeats against Canada to an end. I want to see more of Johnny Peacock, David Weir, Hannah Cockcroft, Ellie Simmonds and... I just want more.

I don't know if the London Paralympics opened my blocked nerve pathway. I do know they opened my eyes. I don't believe I'm alone. Broadcasters: That means viewers, which means advertisers, as Channel Four has discovered. Hopefully the discussions it is involved in about screening further events involving Paralympic sports will bear fruit.

There's talk of running a Wheelchair Rugby event alongside the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Think about that, ITV.

Last week I looked through one day's schedules of eight sports channels. I found Polo, Australian Rules Football, Australian Rugby League, Major League Baseball, Surfing, American College Football, British Superbikes, The Tour of Spain (Cycling), Triathlon, and Mountain Biking.

Is it really such a leap to add some Paralympic sports to that mix Sky, ESPN, Eurosport?

Of course, the BBC doesn't need advertisers. Where is it in all this? Don't its disabled viewers count?

The Paralympic flame might have been extinguished. Its light shouldn't be allowed to go out. 

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***ASP.NET Developer - Cheshire - £35k - Permanent***

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***Solutions Architect*** - Brighton - £40k - Permanent

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Taking on Ukip requires a delicate balancing act for both main parties

Andrew Grice
Today is a bigger Shabbes than usual in the Jewish world because it has been chosen to launch the Shabbos Project  

Shabbes exerts a pull on all Jews, and today is bigger than ever

Howard Jacobson
Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker