Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Challenge to Us All - the Paralympics

This week saw the start of the London Paralympics Games.  After all the buzz and excitement of the Olympics two weeks ago we are all about to embark on another round of fierce competition, amazing sporting feats and emotional medal ceremonies.  Team GB are one the world’s leading forces in disability sports and are hoping to replicate their Beijing performance of 2nd place on the medal table, something which would be a great achievement.
Great Britain and Northern Island has a fantastic Paralympics history, with the father of the modern event being held to coincide with the 1948 London Olympics.  There is something inherently British about the Paralympics.  To me the determination to overcome seemingly impossible odds to reach the pinnacle of your chosen field is a particularly British quality that we should all be extremely proud of. 
Personally I have spent a lot of my past two years to meet with a wide range of local disability groups.    what strikes one more and more is how people overcome their extreme pain, disabilities and sometimes insurmountable challenges with determination and a smile.  .  This whole summer of sports has taken place with the idea of ‘legacy’ in mind.  If the one legacy of these Paralympics was a wholesale change  nationally and globally in attitudes towards those with disability then I would consider them a huge success.
In these times of financial adversity and economic uncertainty in Thanet and across the country we should all be inspired by the spirit and drive of these men and women.  Although we all go through difficult periods in life, be that professional or personal, the Paralympians put into perspective many of our own issues and show us the potential that we all have.  So I hope all of us in Thanet will be inspired by the coming week’s events and be encouraged to go out and win our own personal gold medals for the challenges we face every day.

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