Guest post from Neil Ross
With the Olympics now over, already social media sites are being bombarded by people starting to miss the spectacle as their favourite sports competitions come to an end. Leaving a huge void in their lives and giving their sofas a chance to recover from the excessive use received over the past two weeks – if only they gave out armchair Olympic medals…
If, however you are one of the masses who crave more sport on TV, fear not – the Paralympics are coming! Channel 4 is the official broadcaster of the games and promises to have bigger and better coverage than ever before. Indeed their pre-games shows and the inclusion of disabled presenters has been very well received. A BBC insider told me in confidence that they were ‘gutted’ not to have secured the Paralympic coverage, but admitted that the C4 bid was ‘far superior’ to theirs.
Over the next few weeks and during the games I will be hoping to keep you informed from an insider’s point of view as I take my post as member of the Technical Official team at the Wheelchair Fencing Event at the Excel Centre in London.
As part of the International Wheelchair Fencing Committee, I along with my fellow members from Spain, Germany, Italy, Hong Kong and Brazil, will form a Technical Delegation that act as an arbitration, enforcement and rule-making body if required. We currently operate with several large rule books covering equipment, competition and organisation, and it is our responsibility to ensure that all wheelchair fencing is undertaken fairly and in the spirit of sportsmanship. If it isn’t in the rules – we make a rule!
Wheelchair Fencing was one of the first sports introduced as rehabilitation for disabled people and we have a proud heritage linked with the etiquette inherent with a combat sport such as fencing, which was used to settle matters of honour with duels in days gone by.
I hope the newly found pride in being British will transfer to the Paralympic spectators and that our Paralympians rise to the occasion and draw on the home support and make a ‘Gold Rush’ of medals in a similar vein to our Olympians – so wave your flags and make some noise!