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The countdown is on, one year to go until the Paralympic Games

Ross_ScopeRoss_Scope Community Team Posts: 2,107 Pioneering
edited September 2020 in Coffee lounge
This week was supposed to mark the beginning of the biggest event in disability sport, the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. It was set to start on the 24th of August and would have had the attention of the world for a couple of weeks, with events ranging from badminton to road cycling, and wheelchair rugby to goalball. 

Like many events in 2020, both sporting and non sporting, the games have been pushed back due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and as such we are now in the strange situation of having to wait another year, until August 2021, for an event that will still be named Tokyo 2020. This isn't an anomaly of course, the Euro 2020 football championship will also carry this years title, despite taking place in June 2021.This week, the One Year To Go (One YTG) campaign was launched and as such, the countdown to the games is officially on.



Will it be safe to go ahead? 

Thousands of athletes from over one hundred countries take part in the Paralympics, and because of this level of international diversity, the safety of athletes, their teams and event staff is paramount. In an ideal world, we will be free of Covid-19 by August 2021, but the preparations have to be put in place in case that isn't a reality. The circumstances in each participating nation at the time will be taken into account, but given that other sporting events are now taking place behind closed doors it is highly likely that the event will go ahead as planned next year.

However, with no end to the pandemic in sight, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), along with other event organisers, can't be certain what sort of climate the Games will take place in, which makes preparation rather difficult. The ability of athletes to train is an issue in itself, with some not being able to access facilities due to them not being open, and others having to contend with social distancing policies that make it hard to train for certain team sports. Disabled people have been disproportionately impacted by Covid-19, and because of this there are concerns about how safe it will be for athletes who are at a higher risk, such as those with an autoimmune disease, the elderly competitors and those with respiratory problems. Furthermore, plans have to be put in place to ensure that any equipment is sanitised thoroughly and regularly.

What to look forward to

Today, a new documentary 'Rising Phoenix' was released by Netflix. It details the rich history of the Paralympic Games and where the event currently stands in the world of sport. The documentary serves as an opportunity to learn about the Paralympics, while also wetting your appetite for next summer's Games.

Tokyo 2020 will be the sixteenth summer Paralympic Games, and it will be the second time that the city has hosted the event, the first being in 1964.

The opening ceremony will take place on 24 August 2021, followed by 539 events across 22 sports over the following couple of weeks.

Team GB are coming into this instalment of the Games off the back of a sensational Rio 2016, where they finished with a total of 147 medals, their best performance since 1988.

This time around there will be two new additions to the Paralympic programme - badminton and taekwondo.

The very first medal of the games will be awarded on the 25th of August in track cycling, in the women's C1-3 3000m individual pursuit race. While Britain's Sarah Storey could add to her 14 Paralympic golds on the same day in the C5 3000m pursuit.

Mark your 2021 calendar, when you get it, because Sunday, 29 August has been dubbed 'Golden Sunday' with 63 gold medals up for grabs, one of which is in wheelchair rugby where the hosts Japan are amongst the favourites.

Are you looking forward to the Paralympic Games? Which events do you like to follow the most? 
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Replies

  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Community Team Posts: 2,754 Disability Gamechanger
    I'm excited! I was lucky enough to see a day of Para-athletics when it was in London and loved it. 

    Other than Para-athletics, I'm particularly excited to see some wheelchair rugby as I watched the documentary Murderball a few years ago and thought it was really interesting. 
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  • Ross_ScopeRoss_Scope Community Team Posts: 2,107 Pioneering
    I'm jealous @Tori_Scope, that must have been an amazing experience!
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  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Community Team Posts: 2,754 Disability Gamechanger
    It was @Ross_Scope! The atmosphere was incredible
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  • TopkittenTopkitten Member Posts: 1,263 Pioneering
    I'm afraid I cannot raise much enthusiasm for the games. I used to love sport and played Sunday football into my 40's and squash into my late 30's. Despite being well overweight my heart rate was extremely low due to fitness. With health deteriorating more rapidly than ever even my thought of doing disabled sports has disappeared, not that there are many sports you can do with a collapsing spine.

    TK
    "I'm on the wrong side of heaven and the righteous side of hell" - from Wrong side of heaven by Five Finger Death Punch.
  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Community Team Posts: 2,754 Disability Gamechanger
    I'm sorry to hear that @Topkitten. Do you think that you'd ever be able to enjoy watching sport, even though you don't feel as though you can take part in sports yourself anymore? 
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  • Ross_ScopeRoss_Scope Community Team Posts: 2,107 Pioneering
    Sorry to hear that @Topkitten

    I know you said you're not overly enthusiastic for the Paralympics, but do you still manage to enjoy some sport as an observer?
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  • TopkittenTopkitten Member Posts: 1,263 Pioneering
    @Tori_Scope, I do watch sport I am an avid fan of F1 and the BTCC I guess maybe because I can still drive I can imagine myself competing but when it comes to physical exertion I just start getting down. I have even had to take down and hide the trophies I won doing various physical sports because I can't face them any more.

    TK
    "I'm on the wrong side of heaven and the righteous side of hell" - from Wrong side of heaven by Five Finger Death Punch.
  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Community Team Posts: 2,754 Disability Gamechanger
    That's understandable @Topkitten. Have you found any other hobbies to replace the loss of sport in your life? 
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  • Ross_ScopeRoss_Scope Community Team Posts: 2,107 Pioneering
    edited August 2020
    @Topkitten

    I'm glad you at least get some enjoyment as a fan of sport, what driver is your favourite in the F1?

    I'm sorry to hear that you can't enjoy your achievements, you must have been fantastic to have earned them. I can understand somewhat how it must feel from your point of view. I have football trophies from when I was younger, when my eyesight hadn't taken a hold, and it can be sad to sometimes look at them and think about what I may have missed out on in that world. I've never found a good enough opportunity to play visually impaired football so I haven't been able to compete since I was young.
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  • TopkittenTopkitten Member Posts: 1,263 Pioneering
    @Tori_Scope, not really. I am good at jigsaws and would do more but find it painful sitting up enough to work on them. I play a few games online but that's something I have done since mid 20's and I have started reading again but nothing specific.

    @Ross_Scope, in F1 I like to see any British diver doing well so am well pleased that Hamilton will break almost every record in the book. In the BTCC I like to see the West Surrey Racing lads doing well in their BMW's and am fast becoming a big fan of Tom Oliphant.

    TK
    "I'm on the wrong side of heaven and the righteous side of hell" - from Wrong side of heaven by Five Finger Death Punch.
  • Ross_ScopeRoss_Scope Community Team Posts: 2,107 Pioneering
    @Topkitten

    Lewis Hamilton is absolutely dominating at the moment, can't see that changing any time soon as long as he sticks with his current team.
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  • TopkittenTopkitten Member Posts: 1,263 Pioneering
    Hard to see Mercedes letting such an advantage go and I am very disappointed with Ferrari's lack of success. At least McLaren seem to be making a comeback and I'm hoping that Williams can do the same.

    TK
    "I'm on the wrong side of heaven and the righteous side of hell" - from Wrong side of heaven by Five Finger Death Punch.
  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Community Team Posts: 2,754 Disability Gamechanger
    edited August 2020
    Well it sounds like there are a few things you can still enjoy at least @Topkitten. What games do you like to play? And what genre of book do you like? I love a good jigsaw too. Will your new chair help with making that more comfortable do you think? Or could any other equipment help? 

    I don't know much about the BTCC, but my Dad watches it and I always liked Oliphant and Turkington purely for their cool names :D
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  • Ross_ScopeRoss_Scope Community Team Posts: 2,107 Pioneering
    Hopefully so @Topkitten, the F1 definitely needs to be more competitive. 

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  • WestHam06WestHam06 Community champion, Scope Volunteer Posts: 1,053 Pioneering
    Hi @Ross_Scope
                                  Thank you so much for sharing this, I love sport so can't wait for next year. I never really had the opportunity to engage in disability sport when I was younger, however now I am starting to try to create opportunities for myself. I will be checking out wheelchair basketball at the games as I play and love it and also the CP football as I have met a former Paralympian who used to play. I'm also looking into the opportunity of doing some football coaching as as you know I'm a massive fan of football :) Thank you. 
  • TopkittenTopkitten Member Posts: 1,263 Pioneering
    I don't think the chair will help with jigsaws, @Tori_Scope. I have a table that goes over the chair and tilts the laptop because I have to lean back, sitting upright causes hip pain let alone crouching over a puzzle, lol! I used to do them at a centre where I used the wheelchair but I can't go now nor use a chair where I live. I will have to see whether they let me move or not but I doubt it, far too jobsworth to be helpful.

    TK
    "I'm on the wrong side of heaven and the righteous side of hell" - from Wrong side of heaven by Five Finger Death Punch.
  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Community Team Posts: 2,754 Disability Gamechanger
    Ah right, I see @Topkitten. It's definitely worth asking, you never know!

    I know it's not the same, but I did find some free jigsaw puzzles online when I searched just now that might be worth checking out. 
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  • TopkittenTopkitten Member Posts: 1,263 Pioneering
    Ty @Tori_Scope, I'll have a look.

    TK
    "I'm on the wrong side of heaven and the righteous side of hell" - from Wrong side of heaven by Five Finger Death Punch.
  • Ross_ScopeRoss_Scope Community Team Posts: 2,107 Pioneering
    WestHam06 said:
    Hi @Ross_Scope
                                  Thank you so much for sharing this, I love sport so can't wait for next year. I never really had the opportunity to engage in disability sport when I was younger, however now I am starting to try to create opportunities for myself. I will be checking out wheelchair basketball at the games as I play and love it and also the CP football as I have met a former Paralympian who used to play. I'm also looking into the opportunity of doing some football coaching as as you know I'm a massive fan of football :) Thank you. 
    That's great :) Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Wheelchair basketball sounds fascinating :) 

    I think football coaching is a very good idea, it will be good to channel your passion for the sport into that.
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  • WestHam06WestHam06 Community champion, Scope Volunteer Posts: 1,053 Pioneering
    Hi @Ross_Scope
                                  Wheelchair basketball is great fun, it can get a little rough at times but I still love it. I love any team sport as I really enjoy working as a team towards a common goal such as winning a game. I'm very excited about the possibility of football coaching, hopefully when I am able to get there it will be great, I think it will. I also admire the fact that there is a belief that it can be done from a wheelchair :) Thank you. 
  • 66Mustang66Mustang Member Posts: 3,862 Disability Gamechanger
    edited August 2020
    I am maybe showing my age/ignorance here in not knowing this but are there any examples of people with mental health / psychological issues competing in the Paralympic Games or is it just for people with a physical disability?

    Edit: I mean people with ONLY a psychological issue - I’m aware there are probably physically disabled people with also a psychological issue already competing.
  • Cher_ScopeCher_Scope Community Team Posts: 2,494 Disability Gamechanger
    Good question @66Mustang

    I looked it up and here is more information about the World Para Athletics classifications. The only category related to mental health is 'intellectual impairment'.
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  • TopkittenTopkitten Member Posts: 1,263 Pioneering
    I believe there are a few things those with a mental disability could compete but I am unsure how they would handle any handicapping, as in balancing the skills.

    TK
    "I'm on the wrong side of heaven and the righteous side of hell" - from Wrong side of heaven by Five Finger Death Punch.
  • 66Mustang66Mustang Member Posts: 3,862 Disability Gamechanger
    That makes sense. Thanks @Cher_Scope and @Topkitten.
  • newbornnewborn Member Posts: 634 Pioneering
    This is possibly a place where someone might explain the attraction in sport, or in competition, or the justification for public money going on that, (among other things,) before social  care is well funded, and disability and age equality  is an enforced reality, just as much as race equality?

    Obviously everyone looking at this thread holds some kind of belief that sport is somehow good, to to point it's worth overlooking the (many) downsides e.g. all competitions are aimed at making the majority feel bad, be excluded, be defeated, feel they don't count.  Also, in theory for Olympics, entire countries are supposed to be 'defeated' , and the winners get vast personal wealth, and drug taking and cheating  and corruption is assumed by the general public to be taken for granted.  Also, the  public purse cost, as in the first paragraph, seems hard to justify.   

    Nobody convinced me, but someone might.  There is a known effect that competitive  sport puts ordinary people off exercising.  For every one being 'inspired', thousands shrug and give up.   Elite levels of fitness are as out of reach as telling your 90 year old great granny to trot up Everest with her Zimmer frame.  She needs exercise. She needs public funding and national provision for rehabilitation exercise, specifically tailored to maintaining and improving the balance and muscle tone of the least fit, not any elite.  I campaigned for years for funding for exercise  for the neediest, not the greediest..

    In terms of value for money,  what is spent on the weakest body makes a dramatic difference.   Just a little specialist  attention to improving someone's  wasted hand strength can mean they can feed themselves  again, transforming their quality of life and returning some of  their dignity, choice  and independence.  By contrast, months of nonstop intensive effort  may not succeed in cutting a fraction of a second from an elite athlete's time.
  • TopkittenTopkitten Member Posts: 1,263 Pioneering
    To be fair @newborn, I can remember a time when just being disabled in ANY sense of the word completely eliminated that person from any sport at all, and no one cared even though they knew such people existed. Ofc the Olympics for any group of people are the best of the best in that group and few expect to EVER be a part of it. I do remember the Winter Olympics when almost no one from GB competed and then came Eddie thee Eagle who was never a real contender but he proved to many that with the right circumstances it is possible to make an appearance on the world stage and now GB IS competitive, if only in some events.

    I would also disagree about cheating which, in general, is well prevented but, like any sport, there will always be people trying to gain an advantage whilst perhaps bending the rules. Some bend them too far and get pulled up but that's the price anyone risks by trying to be THE BEST. The effect on the majority of people is usually small but I can remember playing tennis in my back garden, as a kid, because we only had one world class tennis pro and he was barely in the top ten. I never was going to compete but I got great enjoyment pretending, as do many. The largest effect is among the young.

    Life is difficult enough without some sort of aim to be in some way better.

    As for improving normal lives then always remember that most of the health services are geared to those with a useful future and, as such, older people do not fall into that category. I have found things tougher and tougher to be taken seriously during the last 15 years where, during the first 5 years there was the possibility of working again and I was supported well until it became clear that it wasn't going to happen. Now just being listened to is the hardest part of all because I am 63 and virtually useless.

    TK
    "I'm on the wrong side of heaven and the righteous side of hell" - from Wrong side of heaven by Five Finger Death Punch.
  • WestHam06WestHam06 Community champion, Scope Volunteer Posts: 1,053 Pioneering
    Hi @newborn
                           I appreciate your point, there does need to be more funding for social care and more needs to be done for disability and age equality to be achieved. I would argue that the Paralympics goes some way to helping this being achieved as it shows that people, with a wide range of disabilities, can join in with sport and compete at the highest level just as their able bodied peers to do. They act as positive role models to disabled children and show them that their ambitions are worthy of pursuing. Much of the population, disabled and able bodied, accept that they are not going to represent their country at the Paralympic or Olympic games but find their own way in life and achieve in lots of different ways. I understand that some people find themselves in situations where this feels unachievable but that is where there needs to be more support and understanding, I'm not sure it's fair to take something away from a group of people who ultimately, like many people in this country, are just doing their job. Remember many study alongside training in preparation for when they leave their chosen sport and are also sponsored by outlets other than the government.  We need to become more prepared to help support the older generation and we also need to ensure everyone feels appreciated regardless of age or disability and part of addressing this is by educating people. I believe every single person is unique and has something to offer whether that be representing their country in a sport or working hours on end cleaning hospitals or stacking shelves and, in my opinion each person doing each of these jobs contribute to society, they are all positive role models. Without any of these people our country would not be what it is. There are many elements to the nation that need changing and thousands of people who deserve more appreciation than they get but think of the many people who volunteer their time to run local football teams or swimming clubs to enable thousands of children to enjoy sport. I know sport is not for everyone, we are all different and that is ok. I hope this makes sense and apologies if any upset caused. Thank you. 
  • newbornnewborn Member Posts: 634 Pioneering
    Err.....WestHam maybe you didn't notice T.K's post, but implicitly you reinforce his point that only people who are working age and working hard should be considered at all! I'm absolutely certain  that isn't  really your belief, but phrases about supporting the elite, and kiddies, do tend to suggest that the least fit, and the oldest, are not to be supported.   That is exactly  what TK, and I, object to. 

    Research by Rowntree identified the word 'sport' puts people off voluntary exercise. 
    Nobody, on all official evidence,  truly, deep down,  thinks disabled or old people ought to be permitted to live, so nobody would fund research into the simple obvious fact that there simply is N O provision for exercise for the least fit, most frail, most in need and ironically, most cost effective neglected potential exercisers (apart from rehabilitation for ex service, or a couple of specialist hospitals such as Stoke Mandeville)

    Can you post about the "many thousands of people who volunteer  their time to.....enable the oldest and the most severely disabled to enjoy their vital daily exercise "?  No, of course not. Kiddies and sport, sport and kiddies, is the focus of both public funding and voluntary giving-a-dam.  Sometimes, not being supposed to exist is a little hurtful, in a country where you have worked hard and paid a great deal of tax, over a lifetime, taking nothing from the public purse.   Sport just means  millions to footballers (and ex footballers paid from the bbc licence fee).   

    Sport is also as much damaging as it is  helpful to disabled people.  How annoying that those cripples people want to park in blue badge spaces, when everyone can see that cripples could do the olympics if they weren't  so lazy.  Knock that great grandfather  down and kick him, as well as snatching his wallet, because  everyone knows old people are rich scroungers, so nobody should feel sorry for them or protect  or help them. It's  their own fault for failing to be cute kiddies (or even cute immigrants or cute kittens !)


  • WestHam06WestHam06 Community champion, Scope Volunteer Posts: 1,053 Pioneering
    Hi @newborn
                           Firstly, I would like to apologies if my post caused offence or upset, on rereading the post I can think how you may think that I was reinforcing this idea that older and disabled people are not worthy, but I can assure you this is not the case. I used the example of working because I know of both disabled and older people carrying out these types of jobs and I wanted to show that everyone has value. Please do not think I believe that older and disabled people are not worthy, my view is the complete opposite. I am a disabled person myself, who has regularly recieved criticism for being disabled and this, in the past, has caused me to feel shame. I don't want anyone, old or young, to feel this and I want them to believe that they are worthy because they are.  In response to your question regarding voluntary sporting opportunities for disabled and older people, yes I can give you examples but I agree that there are not nearly enough and this is something that needs to change. An example is recently discovering a football team for people with CP or a swimming club for people with Down's Syndrome or a dance group for people of all ages with or without a disability. I am also part of a wheelchair basketball team which enables both disabled and able bodied people to join in.
    I would like to apologies to the community if my previous post caused offence and thank @newborn as I have learnt that when I am trying to make a point sometimes as little more thought is needed. Apologies and many thanks. 
  • newbornnewborn Member Posts: 634 Pioneering
    Oh not at all, westham,  power to your elbow for putting your effort into volunteering of any kind.  It only makes me sad that people  will mob the streets and riot for Antiracism, and pour millions into charities for kiddies and kittens (or donkeys), but simply appear to accept Disablism and Agism. Did you notice the fuss about Tony Abbot, whose 'Christian ' views are said to explain why, in Australia,  he made statements considered Homophobic Racist or Sexist? Nobody bothered to remark on his views about letting old people and disabled  people  die of covid.   Big fuss, about the rest,  but not, ever, even a mention that culling those not economically productive was....perhaps  just a little extreme?

    Actually,  covid is brilliant in some ways. It has forced people (albeit kicking and screaming ) into accepting different ways of doing things.  Online from home is democracy at last, for some who can't leave their own beds.  Everyone has equal  opportunity  to access  virtual concerts, plays, museums, galleries,  open days of gardens and architecture .  By the way, Open Day buildings are starting about now, some to the end of September.  
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