Having spent a good 5 minutes this morning getting wound up about something small (albeit important to me – it’s a knit/crochet thing again) I decided I should do something more positive with my time.
So here we go with Day 2 of my Paralympic countdown!
As I said yesterday, there are too many sports for one a day, so today’s sports are the two taking place at the Royal Artillery Barracks. I also thought that they’d make a good pair as from a layman’s point of view, they both involve trying to hit a small target from quite a long way away. As someone who can’t always get the water from the kettle into the cup without spilling, this always looks very impressive to me. Also, Team GB do pretty well at both sports, so I’m bound to be interested – shooting awards the first medal of the games, and it would be great (for us, obviously) if that went to a Brit.
Looking at the two sports, it seems appropriate to start with Archery as it’s the senior – it’s been part of the games since before the Paralympics proper existed. There are 3 classifications, depending on whether the competitor stands or sits in their wheelchair, and how severe their impairment is. Bows nowadays are less Robin Hood and more Terminator, with sights, weights, balances and all kinds of contraptions on them. No messing around with cat gut and wood here.
This is the gold medallist, Danielle Brown, with what can only be described as a serious bit of kit.
Apart from the classification, Paralympic archery runs under the same basic principle as Olympic archer. Try to get your arrow as close to the centre as possible.
Simples! For them, anyway.
Shooting at the Paralympics also works on the ‘hit the middle’ principle, but with only 2 classifications for the shooters – whether or not they support the weight of the rifle themselves. Events are divided by the different weapons used and the position used to shoot from. This means there are 12 medals on offer all together, and Team GB has got a pretty good chance of taking a few of them.
Added to which, shooting has turned up my favourite picture of my research so far:
That’s Matt Skelhon, who may or may not sport a similar hairstyle this year and is a strong medal contender.
Having done a little bit of both archery and shooting at school, I always think they’re sports that are vastly underestimated. Sure, it looks like you just stand still and look, but the psychological pressure, the concentration and yes, the physicality (you try standing with a heavy bow/gun for a few minutes and see how your arms hold out) of them is all going on under the surface.
Both events start on Day 2 of the games, with Shooting awarding its first medal then as well. Definitely one to catch before it’s gone!