• Michael Christou

Disabled Sports - Outstanding achievements in the face of adversity.

I am a student at Havant and South Downs College. During this term we have created a magazine and the section I was allocated was sport.


An aspect of sport that inspires me is disability sport.

This is my article for my College magazine about disability sport.

Here at South Downs College campus, sport is not limited by disability or learning difficulties. The head of our Sport courses, Kirsty Harley stated:


“All sessions have the option and ability for students with disabilities to play. We also have a number of disability sports that we play including boccia (closely related to French boules) and new age kurling (similar to curling). We also have a inclusive football team which in previous years has competed at national level.”



The world is offering more and more opportunities for everyone with different disabilities. One way to get involved are the local clubs within the South Downs area. Within ten miles of the college there are 29 different disabled sports clubs. Many clubs have been set up in order to get people more involved, a few include wheelchair basketball, visually impaired cricket, mental and physical disabilities sailing.


Not only are there many clubs available, they are all looking for new members!

An example of the resulting benefits of these opportunities is Eden.


As we all know, the Paralympics is one of the greatest stages for disability sport. One of our established students, Eden Rainbow-Cooper, is a wheelchair racer who has overcome many obstacles to get where she is. She is now aiming to compete in the Commonwealth Games and Paralympics.



With the Paralympics expanding every year, it invites so many stars to train and compete for their Country. The most recent was in Pyeongchang, the Winter Paralympics in South Korea.


The Winter Paralympics consisted of six different sports with 80 separate events. The overall winner was the USA winning with 36 medals. The most recent summer Paralympics was Rio 2016, Brazil. These paralympics offered 22 different sports and covering 528 events and China won with a massive total 239 medals.


My personal inspiration who I admire greatly is a young man named Billy Monger.


Monger is a Formula 3 driver. On April 16th 2017, Monger was involved in a high-speed crash at the Donington race track - colliding with a stationary car while diving at 120 MPH. As a result, he had the lower part of both of his legs amputated. Despite this major setback, Monger persevered. In June 2017, it was announced that Monger would return to championship in November of 2017.



After a hard transition phase by Monger and the Carlin team, they were able to have his car heavily modified and he has been back racing in Formula 3, making him the only disabled person to compete in this exciting and exhilarating sport.

 

In 2018, Monger was awarded the  BBC Sports Personality of the Year Helen Rollason Award, which is awarded for “outstanding achievement in the face of adversity” making him my personal hero.


Another inspirational moment in the face of adversity is the Amputee Football Championships.



The first European version took place in the summer of 2017. Twelve nations participated and Turkey took home the trophy. This tournament shows that there are no obstacles in life, just setbacks, a phenomenon shown by the nations that took part. For a sport that mainly requires legs; players with amputations to come and play is a credit to their strengths and resilience.


Furthermore, The Invictus Games created by Prince Harry is a tournament in which “wounded, injured or sick armed services personnel and their associated veterans take part in sports.” This tournament has helped so many ex-soldiers get their lives back and another big inspiration to the world.


As Jarryd Wallace of the United States said:


“When someone says they’re inspired by me, I don’t hear, Oh, my gosh, you’re this incredible person, What I hear is, You’re relatable. As Paralympic athletes, our adversity is visible. But every single human has dealt with adversity at some point.”



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