Steve Palmer's blog about his son Stanley - who has Down's Syndrome - & the extended family.

Sunday 26 February 2006

Athletics for all

This was originally on the BBC Ouch! Website

Stan will be ten in the year 2012, when my town hosts the Olympics. So I'm not expecting him to take part. (His brother, on the other hand, is training to win a gold in the archery. Bullseye)
I mention this because I was really upset in 2003 when the Wizard of Ouch first told me about the banning of people from Learning Difficulties from the Paralympics. They missed out in Athens a year later, but were readmitted in 2005. It all happened because a Spanish journalist infiltrated his country's basketball team at an LD event in Sydney 2000. The result? ALL athletes with LD's were banned by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC)
I see it like this: Last weekend, the Liverpool goalkeeper, Jose Reina, accused Chelsea striker, Arjen Robben, of play-acting to get him sent off.
Now, if the IPC was given the task of punishing Robben (if guilty), perhaps Chelsea would be banned from all competitions for the rest of the season. It sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? But the organisations that head up LD athletics had to go through a stringent re-admission procedure, and, to their credit, they did it. I'm looking forward to seeing LD athletes playing a major part in the 2012 Olympics in London.
After all, look at the rewards

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