THE BLOG

The Chunky Kid Who Became a Paralympian

05/09/2013 16:26 BST | Updated 04/11/2013 10:12 GMT

It was a Wednesday, a bit like every other Wednesday and I was an 10-year-old, a bit on the chunky side, who liked sport but recognized that being visually impaired meant it would probably not feature large in my future.

Running around on the rugby pitches of Eastleigh, the dramatic announcement, on Wednesday, 6 July 2005 at 12.49 BST, that London would host the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games passed me by.

I had no idea then that the decision, described as 'a momentous day' for Britain, would change my life and tilt the word 'disabled' on his head and shake it into a new meaning.

That chunky kid is now a London 2012 Paralympian and sport is a crucial component of my life. I have founded a goalball club and am about to represent Great Britain in our sport's European Championships this week. Momentous indeed.

This Saturday, 7 September 2013, is another significant date. It marks one year on from London 2012, six months to go to the Sochi Paralympic Winter Games, three years to go to Rio and the day that the 2020 host city announcement will be made. And to celebrate the occasion the first-ever National Paralympic Day (NPD) is being held to promote Paralympic sport across the UK, and give people the opportunity to relive the wonder of 2012.

The event is being held at the Queen Elizabeth Park (the Olympic Park as I know it!), and will showcase elite, international Paralympic sport matches in the Copper Box arena, together with cultural and arts events.

Sadly, the Men's GB Goalball team won't be there as we'll be at the Euros in Worcester. We will, however, along with everyone in Madrid, Istanbul and Tokyo, and probably the rest of the world, be listening out for the long awaited confirmation of who will host the 2020 Games!

That decision will change thousands of lives. What happened on Wednesday 6th July 2005 shaped my future by inspiring not only me, but also a whole nation - athletes, officials, trainers, and spectators alike. The ripples from 2005 are still being felt.

2020 may seem a long way off now, but you never know what talent your son or daughter may be harboring and what opportunities may arise. Why not go to the National Paralympic Day event in London, and give a Paralympic sport a try? It could be a momentous moment.