Monday, 14 May 2012

Disabilty Athletics Challenge, 8th May 2012

Last Tuesday I went to the Olypmic Stadium in London to watch the Disability Athletics Challenge event and shout myself hoarse for Jack Binstead and Hannah Cockroft.

Having researched public transport I opted for 'Little Brother' chauffeur service. Driving was fine except that roadworks plus traffic accidents meant I missed Jack's wheelie sprint. Sulk.

Once parked, a truly beautifully smooth pavement sweeping down the bridge over the railway line made up for the 2km trek from car to the stadium and the trek around the massive site.

(golf buggies are available onsite as are handy helpers with spare wheelchairs to help those who struggle to walk long distances but don't have wheels of their own)

The wheelie spaces were great - a mix of wide spaces and small groups of seats, so that groups of friends could sit together whatever the mix of mobility requirements. And the loos were close and spacious.

The stadium was mostly empty - only a few blocks had people in, but the acoustics were great. The atmosphere in that stadium when it's full will be INCREDIBLE! Even with the empty seats, there was plenty of noise as Hannah Cockroft broke the 100m T54 world record. The first record ever to be set in that stadium. I'd like to think it was cos I yelled 'GO HANNAH'. It may possibly be more to do with her hard work.

It was the first world record to be set in that stadium, and I was there. I saw it, I cheered it, and am in awe of the skill and hard work that went into it. GO HANNAH!!

Having got over my disappointment at missing Jack's race, I was SURE Jack was sitting in the next wheelchair bay. He was gone when I looked up next, but I sidled over to the chap he'd been chatting with (Andy) and discovered Jack had gone to prepare for his next race. I'd get to yell 'GO JACK' after all. Perfect.

Somehow conversation ended up inventing a new wheelchair event that combined 'oscar legs' (the prosthetic 'blades' like those worn by the South African runner, Oscar Pistorius) and ski-poles...and hurdles.

I blame Andy.

We hadn't got round to sorting the landing technique before reality returned as Jack appeared on the track. Racing against David Weir in the T54 1500m. AWESOME. Jack beat his previous PB by about half a minute! Well impressive. And I got to yell loads.

I met Jack afterwards. Totally mad, funny - and just as I expected :D Although I did sit there thinking "I am so OLD!!" :D

And unexpectedly meeting a good friend when leaving the stadium was a lovely end to the day.

A really fun day. Cheering for athletes of such calibre, and being there to see such performances was just brilliant.


  1. Is this why you were out looking for a new wheelchair ? Were you hoping for something a bit faster so you could compete ?

    Glad to hear you had a good day, it sounds like the facilities aren't too bad.

    Best wishes,

  2. Hi
    I notice you support wheelchair athletes. I am writing a short article about one who has retired and I wondered if as a fan, you would contact me so I can hear your thoughts about it? Thanks Carol


Feel free to comment, but please note that any offensive or inappropriate comments - including advertising - will be moderated.