Poised for the best Paralympics ever

A week to go to the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Games – it seems like it was yesterday I was writing about an inspirational visit from 9-times Paralympic Gold Medallist Chris Holmes with the Games still being nearly a year off.

Flag of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games

With an extraordinary Olympic Games still fresh in the memory, I’m looking forward to some more fantastic performances from all the Paralympic athletes – keeping a particular eye out for Team GB and Team NL of course!

Britain is recognised as the birthplace of the Paralympic movement and we are keen to make the most of the opportunities to use the Games in promoting international action to ensure equality of rights for disabled people.  Changing attitudes and behaviour towards disabled people is a challenge in many parts of the world.

But the amazing achievements of Paralympic athletes can have a significant impact and with London 2012 we have an opportunity to make a change for the better.

In the days since the Olympic Games’ closing ceremony I’ve lost count of the number of Dutch people who have congratulated me on the success on London 2012. When I met Prime Minister Rutte, Dutch Olympic gold medallists and Olympic Committee members last week at a ceremony in The Hague, they were full of praise for the organisation, facilities and spectators. And they all singled out the amazing impact of the 70,000 volunteers who made the Games such a wonderful experience for fans and athletes alike.

I saw that for myself when my family and I visited the Olympic Park to watch the handball in the “Copper Box”.  It was easy to get swept along in the tide of enthusiasm – 5 minutes in the Park and we were all in the Olympic spirit!

Ambassador Arkwright with Epke Zonderland HMA with hockey player Maartje Goderie

I have no doubt that that spirit will continue through the Paralympics. Indeed, having watched Paralympic swimming here in The Netherlands, I can personally attest to the moving and inspiring nature of Paralympic sport.  Here at the Embassy we will be cheering on Paralympians who have helped us promoting the Games, including Dutch wheelchair tennis player Robin Ammerlaan and Lebanese handbiker Edward Maalouf .

As the Dutch say “veel succes” to them and to all the competitors.

3 Responses

  1. Alison Roberts-Pagent says:

    I am deeply saddened by the lack of coverage the BBC is giving the Paralympics and relegating the games to BBC4. We were force fed the London Olympics on BBC1 and BBC2 but the Paralympics are not accorded anything like the same coverage or support.
    Speaks volumes about the British media.

    • Paul Arkwright says:

      Thanks for your comment. Coverage on Channel 4 (a major commercial channel) is set to be the most comprehensive in Paralympic history. The trailer for their coverage has also got a lot of people talking – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kKTamH__xuQ .

      Here in The Netherlands NOS will be devoting twice as many hours to the broadcast of the London 2012 Paralympic Games as they did in Beijing, a real step forward for the recognition the Games deserves.

  2. Travis says:

    I wish I could be over there for the Games. Here is an interview with USA Paralympian Anjali Forber-Pratt. She is an inspiration!



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