In 2012 Great Britain had amazing success at the Paralympics which were mainly held in London. Achieving an amazing 34 medals Great Britain placed third in the medals table, the effects of this success being felt throughout the United Kingdom with a shift in attitudes towards people with physical impairments. It is no surprise then that the Commonwealth Games starting today in Glasgow has announced that it will have the largest programme of Para-Sports than any other previous Commonwealth Games.
A total of 22 Para-Sport medals will be contested in this year’s Commonwealth Games spanning over five different sports. The Para-Sports that will be played at the Commonwealth Games will be the athletics (six medal events), track cycling (four medal events), swimming (six medal events), powerlifting (four medal events) and lawn bowls (two medal events). Following up from the success of the Paralympics held two years ago the Commonwealth Games is clearly building upon that achievement with this large number of medal and events being played.
Of particular note is that the track cycling at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow will be making its debut, showing the progressive Para-Sports are seeing at this level of competition. While the other Para-Sports made their debut at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester the Lawn Bowls has not seen action in the last two events so this will be an important return for this Para-Sport.
Two ladies aiming to make a statement at the Commonwealth Games are Melissa Tapper and Sophie Thornhill. Despite being born with Erbs Palsy that left her with nerve damage in her right shoulder and arm Melissa Tapper from Australia is looking to show she is just at skilled at Table Tennis as any other player by taking part in the abled bodied event. Sophie Thornhill from Great Britain who has visual impairment is also trying to show this in the Para-Cycling event.
With the inclusion of so many Para-Sports in the Commonwealth Games this will no doubt be a great event this year and should hopeful prove the importance that athletes with impairments are in their role within the Games!