The Paralympic Games: Providing The Differently-Abled An Opportunity To Prove Their Mettle

Posted on September 14, 2012 in Sports

By Pooja Mahesh:

The Paralympic Games 2012, started with a bang and there sure was immense involvement from the participating countries in the games that concluded recently. It lasted from the 29 of August 2012 until the 12 of September 2012. Over 4200 athletes from a hundred and sixty-six countries participated in over twenty disciplines at the fourteenth edition of the London Paralympic Games.

The Paralympics began in the year 1948 when a small group of British World War veterans gathered together to form one of the largest international events that the 21st century has ever seen. Those who participate seek for an equal treatment with the non-disabled Olympic athletes. There is a difference in the funding for the Paralympics and the Olympics, it is however held parallel to the Olympics.

The name Paralympic is derived from the Greek preposition παρά: pará which means “beside” or “alongside” and as a result refers to a competition that is held alongside the Olympics. The word “Paralympic” was used for the first time officially in the Summer Games of 1988 which was held in Seoul.

The participants were not all born with disabilities. On her blog, ‘Province de l’equateur’, Jacqueline Mallet notes that, “Some of these athletes have grown with their disabilities, while others have had to learn to overcome it as a result of war wounds or accidents. Struck by fate, they found in sport a way to rebuild themselves.

The Paralympic Games provide a great opportunity for differently abled individuals who would otherwise be denied participation in any of the mainstream games. Apart from being able to display the talents that they possess, they are also able to get official and unofficial (that is from the general public) recognition for their talents. The Paralympics also gives them a podium to display that the disabled are also able to contribute in fields that would generally not be considered suitable for them.

The Paralympics is a global platform allowing people, irrespective of their disabilities to be able to participate in the games. It is to be noted that London had done everything in its strength to make as many things accessible for the athletes as possible, within days of the Olympics’ closing ceremony. The ability to show your talent on a massive global platform is nothing short of amazing, especially giving the disabled a chance to actually prove themselves productive in all fields of life no matter what the difference might be.

This Paralympics saw India achieving a silver medal at the event while the People’s Republic of China swept the meet with 231 medals, 95 of them being gold. This year’s Paralympics displayed great sportsmanship and commitment from everyone. It began with a wonderful opening ceremony, had tremendous talent displayed and ended with a great closing ceremony with the Paralympic baton being handed to Brazil, which would be hosting both the Paralympics and Olympics in 2016.