St Ives resident ANDREW HARDMAN is on Paralympic Games watch for The Hunts Post. As a wheelchair user and keen follower of disability sports, Andrew will be blogging throughout the Games. Here’s the latest happening at the Games
THE first morning of the Paralympics was devoted to the action taking place in the Aquatics Centre.
Nyree Kindred was the first Paralympics GB athlete to compete – in the 100 metres Breastroke for the S6 category, which denotes the fact that the athlete has a physical disability; in this case cerebral palsy. She did not have a bad start but was left behind after the first length.
After the turn, however, Nyree swam a blistering second 50 metres and broke the Paralympic record with a time of 1:27.96.
In the Paralympic swimming competition there are no semi finals, it is the fastest times that go through to the final. The atmosphere was absolutely electric pool side with the crowd roaring every stroke.
Hannah Russell was the next swimmer to compete. Her event was the 400 metres S12 freestyle for those with a visual impairment. She was the early leader but at the first turn was down by 1.62 seconds but started to edge ahead at the 200 metre mark inside world record pace. She then blitzed the rest of the field and finished in first place with the second place swimmer finishing nine metres behind. The crowd loved it and roared Russell home in a British record time of 4:41.25 seconds.
Harriet Lee one of the swimmers from Huntingdonshire, who now trains in Peterborough, had a solid heat swim swimming a personal best time of 2:38.08 in the 200 metres Individual Medley SM10 category, she swam a strong breast stroke leg to get into third place in her heat.
Harriet’s final should be tonight and I for one am going to be roaring her to gold along with the rest of the nation.
THE afternoon coverage on Channel 4 was devoted to the cycling starting with the Mens C1-3 Individual Time Trial, watched and cheered by a capacity crowd. The factored timing system for the cycling is extremely complicated and it is only through watching the TV coverage that people will understand it. I barely understand it so I will not try to explain it.
Darren Kenny, at the age of 42, was bidding to become the Paralympic champion for the third time in a row. He was roared round the track by the capacity crowd and blitzed it with a time of 1:10.203 which put him at the top of the leader board with seven riders to go, he was steadily pushed down into the bronze medal position.
The second British rider Rick Waddonc silver medallist from Beijingc gave it his best in front of the crowd but unfortunately could only manage sixth. Mark Lee Colbournec the last GB riderc had a monumental task ahead of him as he set of. His factored time needed to be better than 1:05.021 and he powered round into the silver medal position.
A huge cheer went up when he collected his silver medal and there is only one way for the GB medal haul to go and that is up. Watching the cyclists has been truly inspirational and after the swimmers this morning a great start to the games.
Crystal Lake came fourth in the C5 Individual Pursuit a great ride considering she was not supposed to make the team. Sarah Storey who destroyed the Paralympic record in the qualifying round was in the gold medal ride against Anna Harowska and straight from the start Storey took half a second out of the Pole.
Storey as a result managed to catch the Pole before half distance giving Paralympics GB its first gold medal of the games.
Harriet Lee swam this morning in the S10 50m freestyle and finished in 4th place in her heat. It was a good solid swim for an event that isn’t one of her best, but unfortunately she was not quick enough to get through to the final.
Given that it is not one of her best events this should not be treated as a failure as she wasn’t really expected to medal. She has many more events that she is stronger particularly the breaststroke so it shouldn’t be long until she is where she and the rest of Huntingdonshire want to her to be which is at the top of the medal podium.