There’s One Sporting Team to Come That Won’t Need a Performance Review Nor Extra Funding to Outstrip our Olympic Team
There’s just under three weeks to go until another massive sporting event begins in London. The 2012 Paralympic Games return to the spiritual birthplace of the Paralympic movement. Australia is traditionally very strong at the Paralympic Games compared to the Olympics, with medal tallies often outstripping that of our Olympians. Some will put that down to the extra events which are necessary to accommodate the varying levels of disability. Others, like me will say that has nothing to do with it, each respective athlete still has to be able to perform on the day.
One of the strongest sports at the Paralympics for Australia, if not the strongest, is traditionally the swimming, just like it is with that other competition they call the Olympics.
Unlike the Olympic counterparts, the Australian Paralympic Swimming team are unlikely to need a soul-searching performance review complete with navel-gazing to determine what went wrong with their campaign.
There’s likely to be a gold rush to rival Victoria in the 1800’s as I’ve written before. Our collective medal haul in the pool alone, if melted down, would likely save Spain and Greece from the ignominy of default. Okay, maybe I’m embellishing just a little bit, but nonetheless our performance in the pool alone at the Paralympics is a real possibility of eclipsing the overall gold medal tally of our Olympic team which currently stands at 5 golds.
And all that before factoring in the strong possibilities of gold medals in other sports for Australia at the London Paralympics.
Our athletics team which has not under-performed by any means in the past is likely to again bring home medals, some of them gold, but also silver and bronze.
With people like relatively well-known Paralympian Kurt Fearnley competing again in London we’re sure to make a strong showing. The three time gold medallist will line up for his third Paralympic Games in an attempt to win gold in the 800m, 1500m and the marathon which Kurt has made his own.
Other track and field athletes to look out for at the Paralympics include Kelly Cartwright who broke the long jump world record for her classification in 2011 and then earlier this year broke both the 100m and 200m world records in her class. Then there’s Evan O’Hanlon who broke his own world record this year in the 100m, Jessica Gallagher who’s competed in the Winter Paralympics before and medalled in the sport and up and comers some of whom will be in with a real shot of a medal.
Then you have the wheelchair basketball with the Australian men’s team, the Rollers the defending champions from Beijing who are sure to again push the USA, Canada and the home team Great Britain for another gold medal. Not to be outdone, the women’s team who received bronze at the Paralympic Games in China will also be a good chance of another medal.
Australia also has a great chance in the wheelchair rugby, popularly known as ‘murderball’ for the rough nature of the game. The Australian team, with superstar Ryley Batt, will want to go one better on their effort at the Chinese games and win back the gold which the team won at Sydney in 2000.
Those sports alone, chiefly swimming and athletics, should easily see the gold medal tally go into double figures before sports like cycling, equestrian, powerlifting, sailing and more.
We’ll be up against it with the British hosts having plunged an astronomic amount into funding for both Paralympic and Olympic athletes, but any review won’t be raising depressing concerns about the performance of our Paralympic athletes.
It’s time to get excited Australia, with nine and a half hours of live television coverage daily to keep you happy and up to date with our teams’ exploits.