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August 7, 2016

Russian athletes banned from Rio Paralympics after doping scandle

Russian athletes banned from Rio Paralympics after doping scandle

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The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has confirmed the ban on all Russian athletes from the games in the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio today.

Paralympic logo

“The Russian Paralympic Committee will not be able to enter athletes into the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games”, IPC President Sir Philip Craven told a Rio de Janeiro press conference today. “It is our responsibility to ensure fair competition. That is vital to the integrity and credibility of Paralympic sport. I believe the Russian government has catastrophically failed its athletes. The medals over morals attitude disgusts me.” The international committee considered arguments from the Russian committee before confirming the ban.

This comes after the publication of the McLaren report, which described state-sponsored doping in the Russian team. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has also claimed the doping cover-up operation was sponsored by the state, with samples destroyed to eliminate evidence of doping. Drug test laboratory director turned whistleblower Dr Rodchenkov acknowledged the state security forces — in the words of the WADA report — “actively imposed an atmosphere of intimidation on laboratory process and staff”. He also claimed he was part of state-organised doping at the Sochi Winter Olympics, destroying urine samples and giving athletes banned drugs.

Russia has denied these allegations, Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko calling WADA’s doping report, when it first came out, “unverified sources, on unverified facts”. According to Russian news agency Tass, Mutko said Russia would appeal today’s IPC ruling to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Russian gold medal winner Yuriy Borzakovskiy expressed scepticism of the allegations, saying “The report itself contains a lot of allegations but not many facts […] The pressure [to expel Russia from the Olympics] is very much political.”


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Paralympics bans Russian athletes from Rio Games after doping scandal

Paralympics bans Russian athletes from Rio Games after doping scandal

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Sunday, August 7, 2016

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The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has confirmed the ban on all Russian athletes from the games in the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio today.

Paralympic logo

“The Russian Paralympic Committee will not be able to enter athletes into the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games”, IPC President Sir Philip Craven told a Rio de Janeiro press conference today. “It is our responsibility to ensure fair competition. That is vital to the integrity and credibility of Paralympic sport. I believe the Russian government has catastrophically failed its athletes. The medals over morals attitude disgusts me.” The international committee considered arguments from the Russian committee before confirming the ban.

This comes after the publication of the McLaren report, which described state-sponsored doping in the Russian team. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has also claimed the doping cover-up operation was sponsored by the state, with samples destroyed to eliminate evidence of doping. Drug test laboratory director turned whistleblower Dr Rodchenkov acknowledged the state security forces — in the words of the WADA report — “actively imposed an atmosphere of intimidation on laboratory process and staff”. He also claimed he was part of state-organised doping at the Sochi Winter Olympics, destroying urine samples and giving athletes banned drugs.

Russia has denied these allegations, Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko calling WADA’s doping report, when it first came out, “unverified sources, on unverified facts”. According to Russian news agency Tass, Mutko said Russia would appeal today’s IPC ruling to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Russian gold medal winner Yuriy Borzakovskiy expressed scepticism of the allegations, saying “The report itself contains a lot of allegations but not many facts […] The pressure [to expel Russia from the Olympics] is very much political”.


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March 3, 2014

International Paralympic Committee comments on Russian adherence to Olympic Truce

International Paralympic Committee comments on Russian adherence to Olympic Truce

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Monday, March 3, 2014

The Olympic Truce wall at the 2012 Summer Paralympics
Image: P.Kurmelis.

In a response published Saturday by The Associated Press, the International Paralympic Committee commented on Russian adherence to the Olympic Truce in regards to the country’s actions in the Ukraine, saying “As with situations around the world, we hope a peaceful resolution can be found in the spirit of the Olympic Truce, which has covered the Paralympic Games since 2006. […] We want the story here to be the great festival of sport that has already taken place in Sochi and will continue now that athletes are arriving for the start of the Winter Paralympics.”

In the past few days, Russian troops entered the Ukrainian Crimea and took control of a number of strategic locations, including an airport and a regional parliament. Yesterday, Russian forces surrounded a Crimean Ukrainian military base.

While the Russian-hosted Olympic Games officially ended on February 23, the Olympic period officially concludes on March 16 at the closing ceremony for the 2014 Winter Paralympics.

The Olympic Truce and its extension to the Paralympic Games is recognized by the United Nations, who did so in A/65/270, para.7, an addition recognised by the United Nations General Assembly in August 2010.

The Crimea region of the Ukraine is located less than 500 kilometers (less than 300 miles) away from Sochi. The British Paralympic team have said they are continuing to monitor the situation, but has no current plans to make changes regarding their participation at the Games. The United States Paralympic team has said they haven’t made any changes to their plans in response to the situation.

Yesterday, the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister David Cameron said on Twitter, “Because of the serious situation in Ukraine, @WilliamJHague & I believe it would be wrong for UK Ministers to attend the Sochi Paralympics.”



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Canada has no plans to boycott Winter Paralympics

Canada has no plans to boycott Winter Paralympics

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Monday, March 3, 2014

File photo of Mac Marcoux of Canada at 2013 IPC Alpine World Championships at La Molina in Spain. Marcoux is a member of the Canadian Paralympic team set to compete in Sochi
Image: María Sefidari.

Yesterday the Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said there are no plans to boycott the 2014 Winter Paralympics in Sochi, Russia even as Canada takes other actions in response to Russian military intervention in Crimea, Ukraine. On Saturday Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper also stated there were no plans to boycott the Games, set to start March 7.

Baird is quoted in as saying, “We don’t want the athletes to pay the price for this.[…] But politically… I don’t think there’s any way we’d want to have senior-level government leadership going there to somehow glorify Russia’s leadership.” Toronto Star Sports Columnist Cathal Kelly published an editorial on Saturday saying Canada needs to boycott the Sochi Paralympics.

Canada has already recalled its ambassador to Russia. The Canadian government is considering expelling the Russian ambassador from the country. Yesterday, Harper said the country plans to boycott meetings leading up to the upcoming Russian-chaired G8 summit. He also said Canada was working with the United Nations to monitor the situation in the Ukraine, and is exploring the possibility of offering financial assistance to the country.

In an e-mail from Canadian Paralympic Committee CEO Karen O’Neill to Kelly, the organization refused to answer direct questions about any potential boycott of the Games.

Canada has previously boycotted an Olympics in Russia. In 1980, the country boycotted the Summer Olympics in Moscow because of the USSR invasion of Afghanistan. They were joined by a number of other countries including the United States and West Germany.



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December 7, 2013

Wikinews interviews academic Steve Redhead about Australian women\’s soccer

Wikinews interviews academic Steve Redhead about Australian women’s soccer

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Saturday, December 7, 2013

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Yesterday, Wikinews interviewed Steve Redhead, a Professor of Sports Media and Acting Head of School of Human Movement Studies at Charles Sturt University in New South Wales, Australia, about the Australian women’s national soccer team (Matildas), the Australian men’s national soccer team (Socceroos) and the current differences between the state of women and men’s soccer in Australia. The Socceroos are currently getting international attention following yesterday’s 2014 FIFA World Cup draw which placed the 59th FIFA ranked team in the same group as top FIFA ranked Spain, fifteenth ranked Chile and the ninth ranked Netherlands.

The Matildas were in the news late last month, following their AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2014 draw which saw them placed in the group with Japan, Vietnam and Jordan. With the competition scheduled to take place in May, the Matildas are looking to repeat their performance as AFC champions. Domestically, Australia’s top women’s club team Sydney FC finish third in the International Women’s Club Championship held in Japan this past week after defeating South American club champions Colo-Colo in a penalty shootout.

The Matildas in a 2012 file photo
Image: Camw.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png: The Socceroos are ranked 59th by FIFA. The Matildas are ranked 8th by FIFA in the latest rankings. Should media coverage correlate to team performance and international rankings? Is there an element of tall poppy syndrome in the coverage of the Socceroos? What other factors can be used to explain the relative differences in media attention other than performance?

Steve Redhead: Women’s sports performances are seen as less than men’s — deep structural sexism (globally replicated).

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: What’s the difference in style of play between the men and women’s national teams?

Steve Redhead: If we take soccer teams, with the newish rules on tackling from behind globally soccer has become almost a non-contact sport — this has helped the women’s game enormously and the styles of play don’t differ very much at all. If you were from outer space watching games, you would not know that a game was being played by men or women at the top level. The big remaining difference is goalkeeping. Men’s team goalkeepers are invariably way over six feet at the top level. Goalkeeping in the women’s game looks different because of this difference.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: Why are the Matildas more successful in international competitions and ranking wise than the Socceroos?

SR: Socceroos have been in decline since Hiddink stopped being coach. Aging team, no great young players coming through to replace the golden generation. No such problem with Matildas — just steady improvement, and good coaching.

Australia’s Douglas Utjesenevic going against East German Eberhard Vogel at the 1974 FIFA World Cup, Australia men’s first World Cup appearance.
Image: Rainer Mittelstädt.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: Soccer is one of most popular spectator sports for women. Why do you think the W-League has been unable to capitalize on the female audience like netball has?

SR: This is a difficult question — I just think it is going to take time, and articles like this one — it has been the same problem all over the world for women’s football and increasing the audience is always difficult.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: Why do you think men don’t watch the Matildas in the same numbers as they watch the Socceroos?

SR: The soccer culture for men’s football is long standing, there is a real history for the culture. Not so in the women’s game.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: Do problems with A-League finances translate into broader problems for the W-League and its ability to attract investors?

SR: Yes, I think so. But there is a deep structural sexism in the culture too.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: None of the Socceroos received DAS [Direct Athlete Support] grants from the Australian Sports Commission in the past year while almost every single player on the Matildas received DAS or SLGSfW [Sports Leadership Grants and Scholarships for Women] funding. What accounts for difference in Australian Sports Commission/Australian Institute of Sport funding and what would it take to change that?

SR: Can’t really answer that one.

W-League player Emily Van Egmond playing for the Western Sydney Wanderers in a pre-season game last month
Image: Efcso.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: What role should the government play in encouraging media organizations, both newspapers and television networks, to cover women’s soccer in Australia?

SR: I think it does take federal government intervention — educational programmes in sport long term, enforcement of equality legislation, etc.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: Does the media feed into traditional Australian gender stereotypes by not covering elite women’s sports?

SR: Yes it does. Media sports education is crucial. We do this here at Charles Sturt University in NSW and I did it at University of Brighton in the UK.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: Australia has a long history of a male-driven sporting narrative. How does this narrative play into current representations of men and women in Australian soccer? Does the cultural heritage of male-driven narratives make one national team more inherently authentic than the other?

SR: No, but I think it does make it difficult for women’s sport to build the narratives over a period of time.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: Do issues with the Matildas not receiving the same level of media recognition as the Socceroos play a role in the development and attention of other Australian national soccer teams like blind football at the Paralympic level, cerebral palsy football at the Paralympic level, Australian teams at the International Gay Games, deaf soccer teams at the Deaflympics, wheelchair soccer at the World Cup of Powerchair Football?

SR: Yes, it is about equality — there is so much discrimination in the coverage of sports teams.



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November 16, 2013

Wikinews interviews academic Simon Ličen about attitudes towards US Paralympics

Wikinews interviews academic Simon Ličen about attitudes towards US Paralympics

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Saturday, November 16, 2013

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A Russian stamp for Paralympic Games in Sochi in 2014
Image: Почта России/Russian Post.

On Thursday, with 110 days until the start of the 2014 Winter Paralympics in Sochi, Russia, Wikinews interviewed Assistant Professor in Educational Leadership, Sport Studies and Educational/Counseling Psychology at Washington State University Simon Ličen about attitudes in United States towards the Paralympics.

Licen has recently joined the Sport Management Program at Washington State University to develop its sport media and communication research and teaching contents. Originally from Slovenia, he served as the Director of Media and Communications of a WTA Tour event and was a member of the UNESCO Slovenian National Commission. He was also the Team Manager of the Slovenian wheelchair basketball national team.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png: Why do you think the Paralympic movement has so little visibility in the US compared to other countries like Australia, the United Kingdom and even Canada?

Simon Ličen: Sports in the United States largely reaffirm existing relations of power in society. It emphasizes consumerism, the belief that success always goes to people who merit it due to their abilities, dedication and qualifications, and reinforces, rather than changes, existing ideas related to gender, ethnicity and nationality. Paralympic sport brings attention to athletes who are typically overlooked in American society because the majority of the population does not want to identify with people who are disabled. Although disability is not contagious, interest in disabled sports might put into question the masculinity of the males following it. Disabled athletes also challenge existing relations of power by displaying dedication, hard work and perseverance in different contexts than those most sports fans are accustomed to.
Other countries, including the ones you mention, have stronger social orientations in all aspects of society. Even though legislative support may be less strong than the one provided by the Americans with Disabilities Act, many social institutions including the media are more receptive to this form of diversity.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: What do you think the impact will be for the Paralympic movement will be with the Games being televised live in the United States for first time?

Simon Ličen: The impact depends on a number of aspects. One of them is the channels that NBC as the broadcasting rights owner for the United States will use to air the Paralympic Games on. Will they be shown nationally or regionally, on NBC or on any of the company’s multiple cable networks? A second aspect is the parts or hours of the day the Paralympics will be shown. Remember that there is a nine-hour difference between Sochi and New York, and a 12-hour difference between Sochi and the US West Coast. So daytime events will be shown live in the United States in the middle of the night, and evening prime-time events will be shown — indeed live — in the morning U.S. time. So showing the Paralympics live on United States television might turn out to be less glamorous than it appears. A third important factor is the way the event will be mediated: will NBC have its best sports broadcasters following the event after having worked the Winter Olympics? Will they treat and announce the competitions as they do all others — for better and worse? Will they take it as an opportunity to educate viewers about disability and diversity while showing superb athletic performances without engaging in a discourse of pity? All in all, I think this is a terrific opportunity to improve sports coverage in a multitude of aspects; but we will have to wait until after the event to assess to what extent the broadcasters will meet these expectations.

USA skier Ralph Green last year at the 2012 IPC NorAm Cup.
Image: Bidgee.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: What role should the media be playing in promoting the Paralympic Games? Why does the US media provide so little coverage of the Paralympics compared to other sports?

Simon Ličen: I don’t think the media should be promoting any sports event. I think the role of the media is to inform about the event and to cover it fairly. It is not just the Paralympic Games, or disable sports in general that yield very little media coverage; a recent study has shown that women’s sports only account for 1.3%–1.6% of televised news media. The situation improves considerably during the Olympic Games and prime-time Olympic coverage comes close to equal coverage of both men’s and women’s sport. Outside of that, however, U.S. media coverage is largely limited to the men’s four major leagues, college football and college basketball. Again, the media decide which sports to cover based on their perceived entertainment value and its potential of generating sponsor revenues. The Paralympic Games are complex to understand and its participants hard to identify with because there are less instances of dominating performances and long-standing rivalries, which are concepts that are understandable even to the casual fan.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: What role does the fact that the Paralympics are about people with disability competing at sport play in the American public’s reception of the Paralympics?

Simon Ličen: I would speculate that the American public is largely indifferent to the event as it is currently represented in the media. The majority of people are oblivious of the Paralympic Games. They might greet an American medal winner as this would reaffirm the success, supremacy and tenacity of an American representative in a global field. In more general terms, however, the American public chooses to largely overlook disabled sports as the average able-bodied person likely does not want to be represented by, and thus identify with, a disabled person.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: Is the fact the US Olympic Committee is the national Paralympic Committee a hinderance or help in the development of the Paralympic movement in the US?

Simon Ličen: In general terms, this is both an opportunity and a risk: it can activate its sizable financial, promotional and media influence to bring attention to the Paralympic movement, but at the same time might choose to push disabled sports to the side in order to accommodate influential sponsors. I am not familiar with the specific work done by the US Olympic Committee in terms of supporting, popularizing and expanding the Paralympic movement so I cannot speculate which way the actual work done by the USOC sways.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: What conditions need to exist in the US for Paralympic athletes to get sponsorship similar to their Olympic counterparts?

Simon Ličen: Sport sponsorships are indeed strongly influenced by the media prominence of competing individuals. Individual disabled athletes have already been able to secure profitable sponsorship and endorsement contracts; perhaps the most notable example is Oscar Pistorius who was in this sense a true groundbreaker before falling off the pedestal due to his pending trial. This is even more true when one considers that not all Olympic athletes are able to secure profitable or even exaggerated contacts: an Olympic archery champion is less appealing than an Olympic champion javelin thrower, a female javelin thrower is less appealing than a male sprinter, and a Jamaican champion sprinter is less appealing than an American elite basketball player. Sporadic media appearances, such as those during the Paralympic fortnight, will hardly suffice to land disabled athletes major contracts; an athlete has to be in the constant media and popular spotlights to secure lucrative contracts. Until Paralympic athletes […] [are] able to achieve that kind of media presence, high sponsorships are likely to elude them.

USA skier Andrew Earl Kurka at the 2012 IPC NorAm Cup
Image: Bidgee.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: Many countries provide federal money to support their Olympic and Paralympic athletes. Should the US consider this as a way of increasing visibility for the Paralympics, supporting increased opportunities for people with disabilities and increasing the US Paralympic medal count?

Simon Ličen: Focusing on the US medal count will successfully keep the Paralympic Games away from mainstream attention! A focus on the medal count as a means to establish supremacy is typical for American professional sports, and the Paralympics will never be able to beat the Olympic Games or the major leagues at their game. This is why the Paralympic Games should involve a different narrative.
Countries typically allocate governmental support to the more vulnerable groups in society because those who are strong can protect their interests through their vast financial and social means. In this sense, the United States should support participation in the Paralympic Games to promote adaptive sports in general and thus increase sports participation among people with disabilities. People with disabilities are among those who most benefit from participating in sports and physical activity due to their health and social advantage; however, they also have much fewer opportunities for sport participation and often require expensive adapted sports equipment. Public funds should contribute to their sport activity in general, and federal funding of Paralympic athletes could certainly provide an excellent example for local communities. Unfortunately, I fear that even the most progressive congresswomen and congressmen will be [reluctant] to increase that funding given the current federal budgetary situation.



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November 6, 2013

Wikinews interviews Spanish shooter Paulo Fontán

Wikinews interviews Spanish shooter Paulo Fontán

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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

This year’s Spanish IPC European Shooting Championship team
Image: Comité Paralímpico Español.

This week, Wikinews interviewed Spanish Paralympic sport shooter Paulo Fontán Torreiro. Late last month, Galician Fontán competed at the Alicante hosted 2013 IPC European Shooting Championship, where he finished twenty-third in the R4 10-meter air rifle standing event, and fortieth in the R5 10-meter air rifle prone event.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png: So you competed at the IPC European Shooting Championships last month? How did you do? Are you happy with the result?((es))

Paulo Fontán Torreiro: Yes, I competed in the European Championship in Alicante. It was my first important event and I felt very nervous, I wanted to perform well. Despite improving my previous scores and achieving the minimum qualifying score for next year’s World Championship, I think I could have done better.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: What do you think you need to improve to possibly compete at the 2016 Rio Paralympics and get a medal?((es))

Paulo Fontán: Basically I would need to be able to train more constantly, obtain financial resources to participate in international events, and have a bit of luck on the day of the competition.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: What are the biggest challenges you face on the road to the Rio Games? Money? Good competition? The support network to travel and compete at the highest level? Disability access at training venues?((es))

Paulo Fontán: All that are included in the questions. In order to train effectively, you need adequate facilities, and that’s not the norm here. And to increase my level, I would need to compete against good rivals, basically at international events. For that, I require money and support, something that’s not too available.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: Why did you chose to compete in shooting? Why not compete in another sport?((es))

Paulo Fontán: I first tried other sports but finally focused on shooting because it fits my capabilities better, I’m not bad at it, and there is a very agreeable atmosphere at the competitions.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: Who are your role models in shooting? Are there any shooters you particularly admire?((es))

Paulo Fontán: I must thank the support Juan Saavedra has given me since I started, and which he keeps giving me when I need it. I would like to mention Marciano Vázquez, the Spanish national team coach, too for his advice and trust in me when he called me up for the European Championship: I hope to return his trust with some future triumph.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: What is the sport shooting culture like in Spain? Are people generally supportive when you tell them what sport you compete in?((es))

Paulo Fontán: I don’t think it’s very well known, and there could be some rejection because of the “pegar tiros” part, but that’s out of ignorance since it is mainly a mental sport, a sport requiring focus.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: Do you think the classification system in shooting is fair? Do you think it should be changed?((es))

Paulo Fontán: I’ve only been doing this for three years and haven’t had time to analyze it deeply so as to have an opinion about it.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: Would you recommend the sport to other people with disabilities? What are reasons they should or should not take up the sport?((es))

Paulo Fontán: Yes, I would recommend it, and I would because it is a sport which can be practiced by a wide array of different disabilities, and for a long time. The biggest problem is the high initial investment, the lack of adequate facilities or the cost of travelling to competitions since there are not many places that allow people with disabilities to participate.((es))



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August 15, 2013

Wikinews interviews Spanish Paralympic swimmer Deborah Font

Wikinews interviews Spanish Paralympic swimmer Deborah Font

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Deborah Font at Madrid–Barajas Airport on Friday
Image: Laura Hale.

Wikinews interviews Deborah Font
Audio: Laura Hale.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Last Friday at Madrid–Barajas Airport, Wikinews interviewed Spanish Paralympic swimmer Deborah Font, who is competing at the 2013 IPC Swimming World Championships that started this Monday in Montreal, Canada. Font has finished second in Monday’s Women’s 100 meter Freestyle S12 Heat 1, before going on to finish fourth in the Women’s 100 meter Freestyle S12 Final with a time of 1:03.20, less than a second behind bronze medalist German Naomi Maike Schnittger.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png I’m Laura Hale, I’m interviewing Deborah Font for Wikinews. Deborah is going to the 2013 IPC Swimming World Championships in Montreal. You’re already a Paralympic medallist, right? You’ve won several medals at the Paralympics before?

Deborah Font: I won two medals in Sydney [2000 Summer Paralympic Games], a gold medal and bronze medal; in Athens [2004 Summer Paralympic Games] two silver medals and one bronze medal; in Beijing [2008 Summer Paralympic Games] one bronze medal; and in London 2012 Summer Paralympic Games one bronze medal. Seven in Paralympic Games.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png And in World Championships?

Deborah Font: I don’t know the exact number. Several.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png What style do you swim?

Deborah Font: 400m freestyle.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Okay, and you’re going to do that in Montreal?

Deborah Font: In Montreal I’ll do 400m freestyle.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png You think you’re going to get a medal?

Deborah Font: Yes, I’m fighting for a silver or bronze medal.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png What classification are you?

Deborah Font: S-12.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png S-12. So you have partial vision.

Deborah Font: Yeah, partial. [I can see a little.]

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Since you cannot see perfectly, when you swim, can you see the people next to you?

Deborah Font: I can see those next to me, but not perfectly. I see those near to me, but not those far from me.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Do you think about other swimmers when you swim, or is it a disadvantage because you cannot see swimmers farther away?

Deborah Font: I swim my race, and don’t see the other swimmers.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png They don’t matter when you swim? You swim against yourself, your best time?

Deborah Font: I swim against myself, I don’t see the other swimmers too much. My race, myself, I go inside myself.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Do you have any sponsors?

Deborah Font: No, no sponsors.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png How difficult is it to swim in Spain for Paralympic swimmers when you don’t have sponsors?

Deborah Font: We have a Paralympic Committee. It’s difficult having sponsors in Spain. For the Olympics, athletes don’t have many sponsors, and for Paralympics it’s more difficult.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Where are you from?

Deborah Font: Barcelona.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Is swimming more competitive in Barcelona, in Madrid…? Where do you think the best swimmers come from?

Deborah Font: They come from all Spain, but train only in Madrid or Barcelona. Most in Barcelona. (laughs)

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Is there a reason most of the swimmers train in Barcelona?

Deborah Font: There are more possibilities for training in good swimming pools. The “Centros de Alto Rendimiento” [High Performance Centres] are in Madrid or Barcelona.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Coming in into the World Championships, did you do any special training, or change how you prepare?

Deborah Font: I did special training with a coach that only trains three or four of us at the High Performance Centre.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png This is a pretty dumb question, but I know a lot of people who look at blind swimmers and they go how can they swim at a straight line? Can you clarify how people with vision impairments can actually swim?

Deborah Font: Well, in swimming it’s all technique and a lot of learning, and learning to swim by the middle of the lane involves a lot of training, habit… Perhaps it’s more difficult for completely blind people, but it’s all a matter of training, trying again and again, get to know the swimming pool… But I think the most difficult thing is to learn to swim the technique without being able to see the others, and to know what you are moving, your arm here and not there… and learning to touch the wall, it’s harder to calculate, especially when competing, because you cannot see the distance you have to the wall.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Thank you very much!



Sources

Wikinews
This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.

External Links

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This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

August 11, 2013

Wikinews interviews Spanish Paralympic swimmer Marta Gómez

Wikinews interviews Spanish Paralympic swimmer Marta Gómez

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Wikinews interviews Marta Gomez.
Image: Laura Hale.

Marta Gomez at Madrid–Barajas Airport yesterday
Image: Laura Hale.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Thursday at Madrid–Barajas Airport, Wikinews interviewed Spanish Paralympic swimmer Marta Gomez, who is scheduled to compete at the 2013 IPC Swimming World Championships that start on Monday in Montreal, Canada.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png This is Laura Hale, I’m interviewing Marta Gómez, a Spanish Paralympic swimmer going to the 2013 IPC Swimming World Championships in Montreal. Are you going to Montreal and what strokes and distances are you competing in?

Marta Gomez : I’ll swim the 100 meter and 400 freestyle, and the 200 individual medley.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Have you won any medals at previous championships?((es))

Marta Gomez : In 2011, at the European Championships in Berlin, I won 3 bronze.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Do you think you will win any medals in Montreal?((es))

Marta Gomez : I will try to fight for a medal in the 400 freestyle which is my main event, but, well, [if I swim well and feel well] my options are clearer, but until you swim nothing is clear.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png You’ve competed at previous Paralympic Games? In London?

Marta Gomez : Yes.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png And you didn’t win any medals?

Marta Gomez : No, I didn’t win any medals.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png What’s the difference preparing for London to the World Championships?((es))

Marta Gomez : That I have improved many aspects of technical level [like?] performance, and especially the psychological aspect that after London I have faced other competitions and I feel much more confident about myself and I have become more competitive.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Are you a swimmer with a visual impediment? You cannot see…?((es))

Marta Gomez : S13.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png When you swim, can you see the swimmers next to you?((es))

Marta Gomez : Depending on the race, you will always be able to — some races like in short distances like the 100 meter breaststroke and 100 meter freestyle as it is too short to lose sight of your rivals, but for example in 400 meters, yes, but I can only see from the sides. I cannot see all the swimmers. In the 800 meters, seeing swimmers in the race is impossible: I fail to see them.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png When you swim, do you mostly think about your own race because you cannot fully see everyone? Do you race more against yourself because you can not see?((es))

Marta Gomez : Yes, of course. Not being able to see your rivals you have to concentrate on your event because you may have nobody to [watch?], you may have a slight reference but you have to swim against yourself.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Why did you choose swimming as opposed to athletics or Goalball or some other sport?

Marta Gomez : I have only practiced swimming since childhood, I’ve always liked the water and it’s been the only sport I’ve practiced because I think it’s a sport where you feel a lot of freedom and don’t have any architectural barriers or anything.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Gracías.((en))

Marta Gomez : De nada.((en))



Sources

Wikinews
This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.

External Links

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This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

August 10, 2013

Wikinews interviews Spanish Paralympic swimmer María Delgado

Wikinews interviews Spanish Paralympic swimmer María Delgado

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Wikinews interviews María Delgado.
Image: Laura Hale.

María Delgado at Madrid–Barajas Airport Thursday.
Image: Laura Hale.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Thursday at Madrid–Barajas Airport, Wikinews interviewed Spanish Paralympic swimmer María Delgado, who is scheduled to compete at the 2013 IPC Swimming World Championships that start on Monday in Montreal, Canada. Delgado will be 15 when she is to compete in Montreal.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png I’m Laura Hale, I’m interviewing María Delgado who is a Spanish swimmer and who is going to the 2013 IPC Swimming World Championships in Montreal, and you have received a lot of press attention from the Spanish press for being the next great Spanish Swimmer, […] [Do you expect to medal in this tournament or in Río?]((es)) [Note: The translated question here differed from the one originally asked in English.]

María Delgado: [laughs] I don’t know.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png The Spanish newspapers say she is the greatest swimmer, she is the next greatest Spanish Paralympic swimmer. Does she feel pressure from the media saying that she is a great swimmer to perform in a really high level? Does she feel pressure to win because the newspapers say it? Spanish newspapers say she is the next great Spanish Paralympic swimmer, that she is going to go to Río.

Translator: She has also been future with “plan AXA”, who bet on young swimmers Paralympics, and has been going at concentrations, which are younger with future have driven a little to fit in the world level of competition.((es))
María Delgado: I’m on a plan for young talent, that is preparing for Rio 2016 and has selected us, and now we go to the World Championship.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Because you are 15, how do you […] balance going to school and competing?

María Delgado: It’s a little difficult but with hard work and effort it’s doable. Study in the morning and train in the afternoon.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Are you doing school work while you are in Montreal? How does you balance school? How do you do the school at the 15 years old and swim? Because that seems really hard to do both at once.((es))

María Delgado: It is very difficult to combine and train while swimming, with swimming and studying.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Because you’re 15 do your parents go with you? Are your parents going to Montreal or are you all traveling solo by yourself?

María Delgado: With my coaches. My parents aren’t going.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Only with your coach?((es))

María Delgado: Yes.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Is it scary to be on your own? Competing against all these 20 year olds and 30 year olds who’ve been to Paralympic games, or you just go “I’m 15, I can — el Mundo es mío [the world is mine]”?((es))

María Delgado: I’m not scared and I go eagerly.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Thank you.((es))



Sources

Wikinews
This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.

External Links

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This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.
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