The Commonwealth Games may be over for another four years, but they have left sporting fans with a host of memorable moments from 13-year old Erraid Davies winning a bronze medal in para-swimming to Usain Bolt’s gold medal as part of the Jamaican 4x100m relay. 

United Response’s supported employment manager, Ali Bishop, went to some of the events and here she tells us about her experiences.

“I was lucky enough to get tickets for the Commonwealth Games that took place in Glasgow at the end of July.  Known also as the ‘friendly games’, Glasgow didn’t disappoint. Everywhere in the city athletes and spectators mingled amongst thousands of volunteers and locals in a carnival atmosphere.

“My highlight was attending track and field events on Monday 28th July with para-athletes sharing the stage with able-bodied at Hampden Park. I loved this, and judging by the crowd reaction so did the other 40,000 spectators, switching from men’s high jump qualification to women’s 100m for visually impaired, to men’s decathlon 100m, long jump and shot put, and back to track for women’s 1500m.

“But the highlight for me was the men’s para discus F42/44 final.  All of the 14 finalists with a leg amputation or disability of the leg competed in scorching sun with, from memory, 6 achieving a personal best throw. The crowds roared whether it was a 16m or a 60m throw and were delighted by the contest for gold and silver between ‘Discus Dan’ Greaves from England and Aled Davies from Wales. But one of the biggest cheers went to the Nigerian athlete, Okigbazi, who approached the circle with the discus balancing on his head, threw away both his crutches and on one leg spun round to launch the discus. It is the kind of sight that cannot fail to impress. His efforts afforded him the bronze medal and Discus Dan came away to give England a gold but all of the medal winners did a lap of honour and were cheered and high-fived around the whole stadium. It was fantastic.

Sharing the stage with able-bodies athletes I can’t help but feel has to be good for the athletes too – those disabled and able-bodied sharing the stadium and competing side by side. At the end of the day – they are all athletes, dedicated to their sport and representing their countries with pride. I, along with thousands of others, felt very proud that day.”

If you feel inspired by Ali’s experiences but weren’t able to get tickets to the Commonwealth Games, take a look at the events for this year’s National Paralympic Day. Held in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on 30th August, para-athletes from all over the world will compete in a range of showcase events, including swimming and basketball. Parasports are making huge strides towards changing attitudes to disabled people, and we hope that this year’s National Paralympic Day will continue that legacy.

Ali Bishop, supported employment manager.