Having been given a ticket and an opportunity to experience the atmosphere at the Paralympics, we soon found ourselves on the London underground bound for Stratford. Excited crowds in patriotic attire head for the arenas, eager to experience the magnificent mood of the games, with a high standard set by the Olympic Games themselves, which perhaps wasn’t expected.
Seeing the Olympic Stadium in person is undoubtedly impressive, as are all of the arenas. There is a communal sense of awe as you walk around, soaking up the atmosphere. The Olympic Park signifies solidarity and togetherness – not something you expect in London! The recognition as to how well we have done in the games themselves and the preparation before it hits as you look around, leaving you feeling elated, and proud to be British.
Then we come to the events themselves. Our Day Pass ticket allowed us into a selection of the arenas, enabling us to watch several sporting events through the day. We started with a Brazil Vs Ukraine football match, the volunteer who guided us to our seats really encouraged the Olympic spirit everybody has been talking about by getting everybody hyped up for the match. When the match kicked off, everybody become engrossed, cheering and ‘ooh’ing and ‘aah’ing simultaneously. Following this, we watched a tense goalball match, you could cut the atmosphere with a knife as silence descended upon the arena for each shot, while with every goal, the crowd erupted in applause and cheers. The Copperbox arena itself was very impressive, you really got a feel for the memories made in the Olympics previous, and the fusion made between those and the great moments being made in the Paralympics too.
Perhaps the highlight of our day was watching the wheelchair tennis. We watched France Vs Japan, and it was wonderful to see the friendly competition between the supporters of each side, adding to the excitement of the match. Both teams played phenomenally well, and for those, like us, who have not seen wheelchair tennis live before, it was incredible to watch.
The key thing we will always remember from our day at the Paralympics was the way it brought people together, everybody shared part of the excitement from the youngest to the oldest spectator. The sense of solidarity between everybody was something perhaps nobody anticipated, but everybody participated in, and this made the games as a whole this year the extraordinary success they have been.
Written by Amy Calvert and Jonathan O’Reilly