Another grand day out!
In a previous post, I blogged about the Grand Day Out Mrs FEEG and I had at the Olympic Athletics.
Yesterday, we went to the Olympic Park again, this time to some of the Paralympics Swimming Competition heats at the Aquatics Centre. All through the day, the weather was really good, although Mrs FEEG did embarrass me somewhat by using her collapsible umbrella as a parasol when the sun got really hot!
As before we got a Thameslink at silly o’clock to St Pancras and then the Javelin to Stratford International. It was still all very efficient. Again, quickly through security checks, this time manned by a very attractive lady airman, that I would not have minded being searched by!
After a coffee, we went on the the Aquatics Centre. Like the Stadium, this is very impressive, and while in its present format has a seating capacity of 17500, it is due to have this reduced to about 3000 after the Games and restored to public usage.
We saw a lot of the heats for last night’s swimming finals. The swimming athletes concerned had a complete range of disabilities from being partially sighted to having one or more missing or stunted limbs. They were none the less just as competitive as able bodied athletes, as Nathalie du Toit showed when she threw a wobbler at last night’s finals, after only winning a silver instead of an expected gold. She had won her heat easily and convincingly. Unfortunately the Brits did not do so well at this session and although some did qualify, they did not do so well in the finals. As there were not so many teams in the Womens’ Individual Medley, they did not have any heats for this, and TeamGB got a silver and only missed out on the gold by 0.03 of a second! That was held so late we were back home by then and watched it on the TV.
Apart from her tantrums, the rest competed in exactly the same spirit as the able-bodied swimmers had previously. I have heard people describing the Paralympians as inspirational. I do not that think that is the correct word. As far as I am concerned, I think the feeling I had engendered in me was that of admiration, for the way all these people had dealing with the crap hand (if you will pardon the expression) that nature had dealt them, and the dedication they showed to their sport.
One thing which struck me and Mrs FEEG was in the Mens’ S2 butterfly 50m sprint. One of the fastest swimmers in this race was a Chinese guy who had no arms at all, just a couple of bumps on his shoulders. He won his heat with ease, and went on to win a bronze medal. Just shows what a stupid mode of aquatic locomotion the butterfly stroke is!
Once we had finished in the pool, we walked to a picnic area, to have our picnic lunch, as the food in the park was quite good but pricey. Had to buy coffee as you are not allowed to take drinks into the park, but it was a very pleasant picnic, as we managed to find some shade.
After that, because Mrs FEEG wanted to get some photos of the Velodrome even though the track cycling was now finished, we walked towards it and I stopped off in the TV screen area known as Park Live, where a large screen TV was showing action at the Games. As the sport being shown was Wheelchair Rugby, previously know as Murderball, I was quite happy to watch this while Mrs FEEG got her pictures. What a great game that is, when they have to stop the games sometimes for running repairs to the wheelchairs, change the wheels and, sometimes, even need to get out the welding kit to repair the safety cages on them. As one player said, when asked it it was not too dangerous, “Well, half of us who play have broken their neck, so, what the heck?”. I like that sort of attitude.
Finally, tired out and very hot, we went back to St Pancras, visited the Carluccio’s there again (Yummy) and caught the Thameslink home. Yet another great day out!