Jordan Jarrett-Bryan: It's the upset wins that show things are improving


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The Independent Online

We expected world records to go in London, but not this many. I think the first and most important factor is the exceptionally talented athletes at these Paralympics who are at the top of their game. The other significant thing has been the increase in funding for disabled sports – certainly for Paralympics GB we are finally starting to reap the rewards from eight years of Lottery funding.

This has allowed our athletes to train and perform at the highest level, to be full-time athletes. This has had an effect internationally, as countries follow Great Britain's example of taking disability sports seriously.

Most people watching are newbies to the Paralympics and disabled sports, so the world records have helped people get interested. But for me, while the world records have been great, the most interesting and important aspect of these Games has been the upsets.

Individual athletes who were expected to dominate events have not done so, and that is brilliant for the Paralympics. Who wants to watch races or matches when you always know who the winner will be? That is boring: I want close races and upsets that indicate standards are high.

Take my sport. Wheelchair basketball is one of few events where we knew the gold could go to any one of six teams – the standards are that high – whereas in most sports it is not that open.

The fact that Oscar Pistorius – the superstar of the Paralympics, our Usain Bolt – got beaten by Alan Oliveira was for me the best thing that has happened so far.

If athletes like Oscar just keep winning, then it either means the event is too easy or most likely the competition is rubbish. So yes, the world records have been great, but for me the upsets and unexpected winners have made these Games.

The writer is a Paralympics presenter for Channel 4