The last five weeks of Olympic sporting thrills, feisty competitions, inspiration and hope ended on Sunday September 10 with the closing ceremony of the Paralympic Games, dubbed “the greatest ever” by International Committee chairman Sir Philip Craven.
Paralypmpics 2012 saw China top the medals table, followed by Russia, Great Britain, Ukraine, Australia and USA. Highlights of the last week included five golds for the Australian swimmer Matt Cowdrey – an amazing, amazing achievement.
Croatian Paralympians were up there among the best – 2 silver and 3 bronze medals. That is a success most encouraging and most thrilling for a country with a relatively small population. But, as in the previously held Olympic Games 2012 in London so too in the Paralympics 2012 Croatia has proven it has what it takes to pursue sporting excellence across the board.
Congratulations to all the Paralympian medalists and all the competitors. You’re simply amazing!
“London Games chairman Sebastian Coe believes the huge popularity of Paralympic Games shows disabled sport is fast becoming recognised as elite competition”, reports Australia’s ABC
“The research that is beginning to come through is showing that over 70 per cent of people now regard the Paralympic Games and the Paralympians as elite athletes,” the twice Olympic gold medallist told a news conference before the closing ceremony.
“I think we’ve genuinely created a platform for their talents and disability sport. Two thirds of the population followed the Games on television, three quarters followed on any platform, so print, TV radio, online.“
More than four billion people are estimated to have watched the London Games on television compared to 1.9 billion eight years ago in Athens.
It’s indeed a very bright and sunny day as the world counts with high celebration among its winners people with disabilities. It’s high time that every country invests more in making disability a part of normal life and that new, richer opportunities open up for those who must try twice as hard in many pursuits of life because of disability. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)