PARALYMPIC WORLD CUP DIARY – Day 4


Manchester's impressive cycling velodrome

Manchester's impressive cycling velodrome

After a rather unexpected late night in which Dave and myself discussed the current state of the World Snooker and its bright, young, future stars, it was time for me to spend the day at the track cycling event, something I was really looking forward too.

On Tuesday I was shown the cycling velodrome which was very close to the Regional Arena and I was very impressed with the venue. Looking down the side of the track I was quite simply amazed at just how much of a slant the riders are able to cycle on.

The days first events were underway at 12pm, so I made my way to the centre of the cycling track to assist any media enquires, to interview as many cyclists as possible and to watch some cycling action. It was going to be a very busy afternoon because it was the final day of cycling events so I was expecting heavy media coverage, but I hadn’t anticipated the first problem to come so early in the day!

The last thing I would do at an event is get on the wrong side of its organisers and that is something one set of journalists decided to do in what was for me, the most awkward moment of the competition. BP 2012 are, after looking at their website, a team who are aiming to increase the reputation of Paralympic sports in Britain. It’s a shame their attitude at he event wasn’t as positive as their cause.

One of their team had set a camera up smack-bang in the middle of the velodrome. The first problem and main problem with this is what I had to told the young lad the previous day, the BBC had the broadcasting rights and nobody else could record live action. The second was that he hadn’t signed in and the third was he was clearly outside the journalists area! He was escorted of the premises and that was the only problem in what proved to be quite a successful day.

Trying to get cyclists to interview the media was at times a difficult and unbearable task, especially when they feel it necessary to warm-down for twenty minutes after their race and keep the ‘animals in the zoo’ waiting, but overall it was a rewarding job. All athletes were easy to talk to and full of conversation and thoughts, I only wish I could say the same about footballers. One athlete in particular was amazing with the press.

Jody Crundy had established himself as one of the greatest Paralympic athletes of all time during the 3-day event but in no way did that have any sort of effect on his ego as he patiently spoke to the media and the BBC. It really made me respect these athletes and warm to them. The day seemed to fly by and before I knew it we were all back at the hotel and rumours were flying round that were going out for an Italian…my stomach started to quench!

In the evening I was treated to a meal at an Italian restaurant just up the road from our hotel. The last time I had eaten anything of that kind was back at the BUCS Championships when I kept my roommate Dan up most of the night with my head in the toilet! I was hoping for some better luck this time and I got it!

The menu didn’t make sense and as others ordered around me with no fuss, I started to panic and ponder the list of foods further. I looked for key Italian words that I could make senses of like ‘garlic bread’ and ‘pizza’ but that didn’t help my situation. The waiter was making his way up the table at a rather fast pace and I knew my time was to come. I listened in to what others around me were ordering, but the atmosphere and the noise from the ’sex & the city’ ladies made it impossible to hear.

In the end I gave into the pressure and played it safe by ordering the soup for starters and a lasagne for my main course. It seemed to go down a treat but I had a gutsy feeling I would be up most of the night once again…would I make to the media centre in the morning…???

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