Today we were lucky enough to take a trip to the Paralympics, courtesy of British Airways. We kind of missed out on the Olympics due to being out of the country most of the time it was on so were keen to experience the Olympic Park ourselves and jumped at the opportunity.
I was a bit apprehensive as I really thought it would be a logistical nightmare but the whole thing from leaving home, down the M1, getting the tube and changing lines, meeting the lovely PR girl, getting into Olympic Park and through the security was all so easy, I don't know why I was worried. It was just as easy coming back and my fears about the London Underground being completely overloaded were totally unfounded.
It's so pleasing to see the Paralympics getting such a good amount of coverage and the Olympic Park was heaving, the atmosphere was brilliant. British Airways had supplied us with day passes which gave us entry to the Olympic Park and also access to several venues like the Riverbank Arena, Eton Manor, Basketball Arena and Copperbox. We managed to catch three events whilst we were there - Wheelchair Basketball, Wheelchair Tennis and Goalball.
The Wheelchair Basketball was definitely my favourite event, the atmosphere was fabulous with everyone clapping along to the music and lots of crowd interaction - we were all doing the Macarena at one point! But not only that - it was amazing to see these athletes in full swing and to see first hand just how hard they have worked. The upper body strength required in these sports must be incredible and I was pretty much in awe!
We also went centre court at Eton Manor and caught Peter Norfolk for Team GB in the Wheelchair Tennis. That was a great one to watch as he absolutely trounced his Japanese opponent. He made it look so easy and effortless and as someone who has barely even picked up a racket, I was pretty impressed!
And then there was Goalball. I've never seen Goalball before so wasn't sure what to expect but the teams are basically lying down, listening for the ball to come their way as they are blindfolded. It sounds like it would be really easy to score a goal doesn't it? Oh no! We saw Belgium playing China and neither one managed to score because they were both playing so defensively. It ended as a 0-0 draw and from the sounds of the Belgium contingent this was a good result - but what do I know!
The rest of the time was spent ambling around the Olympic Park, eating the obligatory McDonalds from the largest McDonalds in the world, having a rest in the BA Park Live (a very nice grassy area where you can sit and have a rest in front of large screens showing all the action going on around you) and taking in the pretty awesome structures around us. It was a fab day and I'm so thankful we got the chance to go and soak it all up as well as seeing some pretty amazing people in action.
If you get the opportunity to visit the Olympic Park and the Paralympics, GO. You won't regret it at all.
Before I go, I'm going to share this great video - British Airways teamed up with some of our fabulous Olympic Athletes who give their #HomeAdvantage messages of support to the Paralympics.
Aah I'm so proud to be British.
British Airways provided me with tickets to the London 2012 Paralympic Games, I was not compensated in any other manner for my time. My opinions posted here are my own.