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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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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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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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June 29, 2014

Medal-seeking Spanish men arrive at 2014 Goalball World Championships

Medal-seeking Spanish men arrive at 2014 Goalball World Championships

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Sunday, June 29, 2014

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Spain‘s men’s national goalball team arrived in Espoo, Finland Friday for the start of the 2014 IBSA Goalball World Championships. The team comes into the tournament with the goal of securing a medal, which would qualify them for the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro. The team missed the 2012 Summer Paralympics.

Head coach Francisco Monreal said, “The objective is to reach the medal round, and qualify directly for the 2016 Games, but we need to be realistic and not think game by game, we can get a surprise. […] The competition will be decided in one game, head or tails, where it doesn’t matter what happened before.((es))

Coming into the competition, the team was ranked eleventh in the world based on the IBSA Unofficial rankings published late last month, down one spot from the April rankings. The team is scheduled to play their first game against the ninth ranked United States men’s team on Monday morning, before playing twenty-first ranked Germany later in the afternoon. Their other scheduled competitors in pool play are top ranked Iran, third ranked Algeria, seventh ranked Finland, twelfth ranked Czech Republic and twentieth ranked Ukraine. The team needs to finish in the top four in their group to advance to the second round.

The team’s roster includes Jose Daniel Fernández, Cristian Santamaria, Félix Vargas, Roman Martínez, Jesús Santana, and Javier Serrato. They are led by head coach Monreal, with assistant coach Carles Estrany and physiotherapist José Bravo. The team is drawn from around the country, with Santana playing for a club in the Canary Islands, Serrato playing for Valencia, Fernández for Madrid area Chamartín, Santamaría for Cantabria, Vargas coming from Barcelona and Martínez from Aragón.

Absent from the 2012 Summer Paralympics, the last major international competition the team competed in was the 2010 Goalball World Championships in Sheffield, England where the team finished fifth. In last year’s IBSA European Goalball Championships in Turkey, the team finished second, behind World Championship hosts and Paralympic gold medalists Finland.

Goalball was created in 1946, exclusively for people with a visual disability and designed to help with the rehabilitation of veterans returning from World War II. Play in the Paralympics consists of two twelve-minute periods, with a three minute break between halves. Players are blindfolded to ensure all are equally visually handicapped on-court, and the game can be stopped to ensure goggles are properly fitted. Standing in front of a long goal, they throw the ball at the opposition team’s net who in turn try to block it by listening to the ball, which contains a bell, and using their bodies to prevent the ball from going in. The audience is asked to remain silent during play.



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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))



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

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July 25, 2013

Wikinews interviews Australian Paralympic assistant coach David Gould

Wikinews interviews Australian Paralympic assistant coach David Gould

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Thursday, July 25, 2013

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2000 Australian Paralympic Team portrait of David Gould. He has not changed a bit since then.
Image: Australian Paralympic Committee.

Wikinews caught up with Australian wheelchair basketball coach David Gould in Canberra, where the Australia women’s national wheelchair basketball team — the Gliders — were having a training camp.

Gould told Wikinews he retired from playing after the 2002 World Championships. He said he began coaching able bodied basketball at schools and clubs in South Australia. He was awarded a scholarship by Basketball Australia and the Australian Sports Commission, and became assistant coach of the Under 23 Men’s team in November 2011. He is now national wheelchair skills coach, assistant coach of the men’s and women’s national teams, and coach of the Under 23 Men’s and Under 25 Women’s teams.

He noted the Gliders have another training camp coming up in Brisbane in August. This is to be an open development camp any player can attend. Twelve players are to be selected for the Asia Oceania Zone (AOZ) Wheelchair Basketball Championships in Bangkok in November. The top three teams then qualify for the World Championships, to be held in Canada next year.

He is acutely aware the Gliders have never won a World Championship or a Paralympics. But he has won a gold medal, with the men’s team, the Rollers, in Atlanta in 1996. “We went on a tour of the United States beforehand”, he recalled. Facing the United States in the United States was daunting. There was a huge crowd. So how did they do it? “We had confidence in ourselves, and stuck to our plan,” he recalled.

This, he said, is what he and Glider’s head coach Tom Kyle are trying to teach the Gliders. To believe in the process. They take them out of their comfort zone, show them the right techniques, the right way to do things. The idea is to get the principles right.

Gould told Wikinews they have to look not just to the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio in 2016, but further ahead to 2020. They have to recruit new players and develop them. He said he took a Gliders team to the Osaka Cup with only four members of the 2012 team, in order to give members of the development team experience with international competition. He set up a mentor system whereby the six newcomers were each paired with one of the old hands.

Wikinews was shown how the games are videoed and critiqued by the coaches. Special software allows the videos to be edited. Effects such as circling players can be added, along with captions and audio from the coaches. The edited video can then be downloaded by the players. Gould said there is a weekly video conference with the players.

He considered video of other teams is an important training tool. He noted the Gliders had to play Brazil in the first match of the Paralympics in London, which was very tough, because so little was known about them. As it turned out, Brazil has a great program, and he thinks it could be a contender in front of a home crowd in Rio in 2016.

Wikinews noted one of the Gliders, Amber Merritt, had her arm in a sling. Gould said her arm had been scanned, and the doctors will make their evaluation. Like most elite athletes, he knows about injury first hand. He told Wikinews he had injured his shoulder during the 2000 Olympics, and had to have it operated on afterwards. He said he did not want players playing injured, and sometimes it was better just to lose a week if you have the flu. He expected his players to be honest and up front with themselves, their coaches and their team. “We need everyone on the same page”, he told Wikinews.

Gould told Wikinews the Asia Oceania Zone championships will feature Australia, Japan, China, Thailand, South Korea, and perhaps Hong Kong. The venue in Bangkok is well known to him, as the U23 Men’s team have already played there. His plan is to arrive early, to allow the players to acclimatise to the high humidity and the food. Some of the U23 men got sick. He does not expect difficulty qualifying, but it is “one of the I’s that have to be dotted and T’s that have to be crossed.”

He said Australians intend to apply full pressure, but one of their objectives is also to help the competition. One of the problems in Australia is that it takes a long time to go anywhere, he told Wikinews. By building up the teams in the Asia Oceania Zone, he hopes Australian teams will not have to travel so much or so far to meet first class competition.



Sources

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


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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.

July 18, 2013

Wikinews interviews Spanish Paralympic track and field athlete Elena Congost Mohedano

Wikinews interviews Spanish Paralympic track and field athlete Elena Congost Mohedano

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

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Laura Hale interviews Elena Congost Mohedano for Wikinews

Elena Congost Mohedano at the airport in Madrid before departing for France
Image: Laura Hale.

With the IPC Athletics World Championships scheduled to start this Friday, Wikinews interviewed Spanish T12 classified long distance runner Elena Congost Mohedano at Madrid–Barajas Airport Monday before he departed for Lyon, France. Congost is scheduled to compete in the T12 1500 meters.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png Hello, I’m interviewing Elena Congost Mohedano who is a Spanish Paralympic athlete who won a silver in London and is going to Lyon to compete in the 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships. Having won a medal in London are you going to get another one in this one?

Elena Congost Mohedano : Yes! I train all year to go to win a medal.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Which medal?

Elena Congost Mohedano: Gold! (laughs)

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Which event?

Elena Congost Mohedano: In 1500m.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png So you’re a long distance runner. And you don’t train/run with a guide because you’re, what, T-13?

Elena Congost Mohedano: I’m T-12.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Ah. So you have a degenerative eye disease, so your vision is getting worse? ((es))

Elena Congost Mohedano: Yes.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Do you expect it to get much worse over your continued history competing?

Elena Congost Mohedano: Now it’s stalled, but next year it’s possible.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Do you plan to stick since you’ve been competing since 2002, right…?

Elena Congost Mohedano: Yes, [Unintelligible].

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Do you plan to continue running until 2020 if Madrid gets the Games?

Elena Congost Mohedano: I don’t know. (laughs) First 2016 in Rio, and then… I don’t know.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png There’s so few women competing for Spain. Is that an additional challenge as an athlete in this country?

Elena Congost Mohedano: No… In this country there are more girls in 100m, 200m and long jump. More people. In middle distance no. Two, three, four girls only.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Why do you think there’s so few women on the Spanish team? It’s like 27 total Spanish competing, and there’s like [three] women?

Elena Congost Mohedano: I don’t know… The level is high internationally, but in Spain… no more level.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Someone with a visual impairement, there’s a lot of sports you could do?

Elena Congost Mohedano: The people now are very lazy. (laughs) No one runs. (laughs)

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png With so many sporting opportunities for people with vision impairments in Spain, why did you choose track and field?

Elena Congost Mohedano: When I was young, my dream was to become an athlete. I saw them in tv, in races, and I told my parents “my wish is to win a gold medal in the Olympics!”

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Is there any particular athlete you remember from when you were young being particularly inspiring?

Elena Congost Mohedano: No.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Spain has these really distinctive uniforms. The colors… Do people ever comment to you about them? Because in the US they were like, “your uniforms look like McDonald’s!”((es))

Elena Congost Mohedano: (laughs) In London, everyone said they were not good… They said we looked like clowns. But this one now is…redder. Better.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png As somebody who’s been competing for more than ten years, has there been a big change in the Paralympic movement from your perspective?

Elena Congost Mohedano: Yes! Every year the level is higher. In the Paralympics, every four years I increase my performance level.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Do you think that the increased competition has made you a better athlete?

Elena Congost Mohedano: Yes! Yes.

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

Elena Congost Mohedano: Okay!



Sources

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


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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.

February 24, 2013

Team USA delivers going into third day of 2013 IPC Alpine World Championships

Team USA delivers going into third day of 2013 IPC Alpine World Championships

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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Going into the third scheduled day of competition at the IPC Alpine World Championships in La Molina, Spain yesterday, the United States para-alpine team has delivered with a gold medal won by Laurie Stephens in the women’s sitting downhill, a silver medal won by men’s sit skier Stephen Lawler in the downhill, and bronze medal won by Laurie Stephens in the women’s sitting Super-G. The United States finished two days of competition fifth overall in the medal count, tied with Russia.

Other Team USA performances in the downhill included a fourth place finish by visually impaired woman skier Danelle Umstead and guide Robert Umstead, a fifth place finish by Christopher Devlin-Young in the men’s sitting group, an eighth place finish by Ralph Green in the men’s standing group, an eighth place finish by women’s standing skier Allison Jones, a ninth place finish by visually impaired Mark Bathum and guide Sean Ramsden, a tenth place finish by Tyler Walker in the men’s sitting, and a thirteenth place finish by Heath Calhoun in the men’s sitting.

In the Super-G event on Thursday, Jones finished fourth in the women’s standing group, Devlin-Young finished fifth, Stephani Victor finished fourth in the women’s sitting group, Umstead and Umstead finished fifth in their group, Bathum and Ramsden finished seventh in their group, Walker finished twelfth in his group, Green finished sixteenth in the men’s standing, Jonathan Lujan finished nineteenth in the men’s standing, Stephen Lawler finished twentieth in the men’s sitting, Heath Calhoun finished twenty-third in men’s sitting, and Andrew Earl Kurka finished twenty-fifth in the men’s sitting group.

A few members of Team USA had difficulties, and were not able to start or finish their races. In the men’s sitting downhill, Kurka did not finish. In the downhill and Super-G event, 2010 Winter Paralympics medalist Alana Nichols did not start. LW12-2 women’s sit-skier Victor also did not start in the downhill event.

Visually-impaired B3 classified skier Bathum chatted with his guide, Sean Ramsden, immediately following both his races. While he was unhappy with his downhill run, Bathum was happy with and had fun during his seventh place run in the Super-G event where he finished with a factored time of 1:13.51, only 3.02 seconds slower than the winning time set by Spanish skier Jon Santacana.

United States skiers were scheduled to compete yesterday in the Slalom discipline but the competition was cancelled due to high winds. Several members of Team USA had a pizza party after the slalom cancellation. Friday’s scheduled event had been rescheduled as a result of predicted snow and high winds during the day. No snow arrived until late in the afternoon, where there was limited accumulation. Some of the younger members of Team USA took advantage of the night off on Thursday to go bowling before a busy training day Friday.

In other United States Paralympic news, Sir Philip Craven, the President of the International Paralympic Committee, told a Wikinews reporter the country will have live television coverage of the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. When a member of Team USA competing in La Molina was asked if they heard confirmation of this, they were unable to confirm. They did highlight the lack of United States media coverage was frustrating for fans wanting to follow the Games in London. According to the skier, many people he knew could only follow the Games by searching for video on sites like YouTube.

Women’s Super-G medal ceremony where Stephens, right, earned a bronze medal
Image: Raystorm.

Laurie Stephens in her gold medal downhill run
Image: Laura Hale.

Umstead and Umstead following Danelle’s Super-G run
Image: Laura Hale.

Danelle Umstead coming to a stop following her Super-G run
Image: Laura Hale.

Ralph Green following his Super-G run
Image: Raystorm.

Allison Jones in her downhill run
Image: Laura Hale.

Allison Jones coming to a stop following her Super-G run
Image: Laura Hale.

Mark Bathum and his guide during their downhill run
Image: Laura Hale.

Bathum coming to a stop following his downhill ride
Image: Laura Hale.

Bathum and his guide discuss the race following their downhill ride
Image: Laura Hale.

Stephani Victor on course in her Super-G run
Image: Laura Hale.

Stephani Victor in the on course finishing area following her Super-G run
Image: Laura Hale.

Close up of Stephani Victor
Image: Laura Hale.



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Sources

Wikinews
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.


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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.

February 23, 2013

Team USA delivers going into third day of the IPC Alpine World Championships

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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Going into the third scheduled day of competition at the IPC Alpine World Championships in La Molina, Spain later today, the United States para-alpine team has delivered with a gold medal won by Laurie Stephens in the women’s standing downhill, a silver medal won by men’s sit skier Stephen Lawler in the downhill, and bronze medal won by Laurie Stephens in the women’s standing Super-G. The United States finished two days of competition fifth overall in the medal count, tied with Russia.

Other Team USA performances in the downhill included a fourth place finish by visually impaired woman skier Danelle Umstead and guide Robert Umstead, a fifth place finish by Christopher Devlin-Young in the men’s sitting group, an eighth place finish by Ralph Green in the men’s standing group, an eighth place finish by women’s standing skier Allison Jones, a ninth place finish by visually impaired Mark Bathum and guide Sean Ramsden, a tenth place finish by Tyler Walker in the men’s sitting, and a thirteenth place finish by Heath Calhoun in the men’s sitting.

In the Super-G event on Thursday, Jones finished fourth in the women’s standing group, Devlin-Young finished fifth, Stephani Victor finished fourth in the women’s sitting group, Umstead and Umstead finished fifth in their group, Bathum and Ramsden finished seventh in their group, Walker finished twelfth in his group, Green finished sixteenth in the men’s standing, Jonathan Lujan finished nineteenth in the men’s standing, Stephen Lawler finished twentieth in the men’s sitting, Heath Calhoun finished twenty-third in men’s sitting, and Andrew Earl Kurka finished twenty-fifth in the men’s sitting group.

A few members of Team USA had issues, and were not able to start or finish their races. In the men’s sitting downhill, Kurka did not finish in the downhill. In the downhill and Super-G event, 2010 Winter Paralympics medalist Alana Nichols did not start. LW12-2 women’s sit-skier Victor also did not start in the downhill event.

Visually-impaired B3 classified skier Bathum chatted with his guide, Sean Ramsden, immediately following both his races. While he was unhappy with his downhill run, Bathum was happy with and had fun during his seventh place run in the Super-G event where he finished with a factored time of 1:13.51, only 3.02 seconds slower than the winning time set by Spanish skier Jon Santacana.

United States skiers were scheduled to compete later today in the Slalom discipline but the competition was cancelled due to high winds. Several members of Team USA had a pizza party after the slalom cancellation. Yesterday’s scheduled event had been rescheduled as a result of predicted snow and high wnds during the day. No snow arrived until late in the afternoon, where there was limited accumulation. Some of the younger members of Team USA took advantage of the night off on Thursday to go bowling before a busy training day yesterday.

In other United States Paralympic news, Sir Philip Craven, the President of the International Paralympic Committee, told a Wikinews reporter that the country will have live television coverage of the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. When a member of Team USA competing in La Molina was asked if they heard confirmation of this, they were unable to confirm. They did highlight the lack of United States media coverage was frustrating for fans wanting to follow the Games in London. According to the skier, many people he knew could only follow the Games by searching for video on sites like YouTube.

Women’s Super-G medal ceremony where Stephens, right, earned a bronze medal
Image: Raystorm.

Laurie Stephens in her gold medal downhill run
Image: Laura Hale.

Umstead and Umstead following Danelle’s Super-G run
Image: Laura Hale.

Danelle Umstead coming to a stop following her Super-G run
Image: Laura Hale.

Ralph Green following his Super-G run
Image: Raystorm.

Allison Jones in her downhill run
Image: Laura Hale.

Allison Jones coming to a stop following her Super-G run
Image: Laura Hale.

Mark Bathum and his guide during their downhill run
Image: Laura Hale.

Bathum coming to a stop following his downhill ride
Image: Laura Hale.

Bathum and his guide discuss the race following their downhill ride
Image: Laura Hale.

Stephani Victor on course in her Super-G run
Image: Laura Hale.

Stephani Victor in the on course finishing area following her Super-G run
Image: Laura Hale.

Close up of Stephani Victor
Image: Laura Hale.



Related news

  • “Austria leads medal count after second day of 2013 IPC Alpine World Championships” — Wikinews, February 22, 2013
  • “Spain starts 2013 IPC Alpine World Championships with first and fifth place finishes” — Wikinews, February 20, 2013
  • “Spaniard Jon Santacana wins downhill at 2013 IPC Alpine World Championships” — Wikinews, February 20, 2013
  • “Slovak Henrieta Farkašová wins downhill event at 2013 IPC Alpine World Championships” — Wikinews, February 20, 2013

Sources

Wikinews
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.

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.

January 19, 2013

Wikinews interviews Spain\’s most decorated Paralympian, Teresa Perales

Wikinews interviews Spain’s most decorated Paralympian, Teresa Perales

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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Zaragoza, Spain — On Thursday, Wikinews traveled to Zaragoza, Spain to interview the nation’s most decorated Paralympian and IPC Athlete Council representative Teresa Perales. A wide range of topics about the Paralympics and sport in Spain were discussed including the evolution of Paralympic sport, disability sport classification, funding support across all levels of elite sport including the Paralympics and Olympics, the role of sportspeople in politics, sponsorship issues, and issues of gender in Spanish sport.

Wikinews reporter LauraHale interviews Spanish Paralympic swimmer Teresa Perales

Evolution of the Paralympics[]

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png Hi this is Laura Hale and I’m interviewing Teresa Perales (Raystorm translating), the most decorated Spanish paralympian of all time, and we’re in Zaragoza. And you’re from Zaragoza, right?

Teresa Perales in Zaragoza on Thursday
Image: LauraHale.

Teresa Perales :Yes, I’m from Zaragoza.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngSo, are you confident that Madrid is going to get the 2020, and are you going to stay around?

Teresa Perales : (laughs) I’d love to. I participated in the bid for Madrid 2016. It was a pity we didn’t get them, and I hope now it is our chance. But I don’t think I will be competing in them.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngYou first competed in 2000. Has there been a big change from 2000 to London that you’ve noticed like in terms of the atmosphere, or even the level of sport and issues of classification?

Teresa Perales : Yes, especially in the level of sport. Our sport is more professional, there are more countries that dedicate more resources, and it is much more professional than in 2000. I’ve seen an evolution, in Sydney times that were gold medal now didn’t make it to the finals. Another very important change has been the media coverage, at an international level and specially in Spain. Here in Spain for the first time we’ve had more than 14 hours of daily coverage of the Games. We’ve had specific programmes and general coverage, and that has been completely different than in Beijing, Athens, Sydney and previous others. It’s been the first time that we’ve been featured in the main pages of newspapers and opened the first minutes of the tv news. Regarding organization, I don’t think there’s been much change. I think Sydney organised the Games wonderfully well. Athens wasn’t very good, at all. Beijing was amazing: the organization was A plus, volunteers were A plus, everyone was A plus. It was fantastic. And London was like… I’m now using a new term, which it no longer is integration or normalization, it is naturally. As in, now everyone does see us the same, just exactly like the Olympians. Not for our disabilities. The biggest change I’ve seen is how people look at me, for example, it now is: I’ve won 22 medals. I am the sportsperson with more medals in Spanish History. And this has been recognised at an institutional and social level. This year I will receive the Gran Cruz al Mérito Deportivo, the highest honor that a sportsperson can achieve in Spain. It never before had been conceded to a paralympic sportsperson, ever. Many national awards, which weren’t possible for sportspeople with disabilities, national awards from newspapers, associations, clubs or town halls. It’s a radical change.((es))

Sponsorship[]

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngI went to London, and the quality of sport — you didn’t go there and say, that’s a person in a wheelchair. You went, fall down guy in a wheelchair, because the sport was so great. There was no embarrassment like the Olympics where they let the people from Lesotho swim in the pool. [The level of sport] was very equitable [at the Paralympics]. In Australia, there was discussion amongst the Paralympians with the issue of sponsorship because sport is becoming so elite. Do you think Paralympians should be getting sponsorship and on the same level that their able-bodied counterparts are?

Interior panorama of the London Aquatics Centre, one of the venues of the 2012 Paralympic Games.
Image: Alexander Kachkaev.

Teresa Perales : Of course. Yes, I hope, some day. Here in Spain… I don’t know well other countries, how they work, I know the financial recognition they get after the Games, but I don’t know the level of sponsorship the sportspeople have. ((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngYeah I was asking you about Spain, the Australians are why I asked.

Teresa Perales : Ah, ok. In Spain we have a law, which has to be improved, which is the Law on Patronage (“Ley del Mecenazgo”) which regulates the way in which companies sponsor a sportsperson or an event and receive tax deductions in exchange. For example, sponsoring the ADO Paralympian Plan. It’s a special plan for Olympians and a plan for Paralympians. The financial support for a Paralympian and for an Olympian is very different. The amount for a Paralympian is a tenth of that of an Olympian. For example, all my medals in London, which were a gold, three silvers and two bronzes, are financially equivalent to one Olympic bronze medal. Very different. Companies prefer to sponsor the event, the plan, before the sportsperson, because they receive more advantages for that. This is in the case of the Paralympians: for Olympians, it is more usual for companies to sponsor sportspeople. For Beijing and London I had a sponsor, Arena, the swimsuit brand, who gave me swimsuits to compete with. For London they gave me three. [Laughs]((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngIs there any difference between men and women?

Teresa Perales : Only in the financial support of the clubs. Of course, that doesn’t affect us because we do not get money from the clubs. For example, Mireia Belmonte has an ADO sponsorhip, a Federations sponsorship, and well now she has problems with her club because she wanted to get the same amount of money as the men, and so she left the club. But she gets money from three places: ADO, Federation, and club. In our case it’s ADO only.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngIn the US, the system is, you need sponsorship to get to the elite level. In Australia, the government funds Olympians and Paralympians equally. Like goalball players got 7,000 dollars each, so it is interesting to find out how Spain differs.

Teresa Perales : Yes, but then, here in Spain we have to make a disctintion: we have the ADO Paralympic Plan since 2005, and the first time we perceived money, rewards for medals and ADO Plan, was after Beijing. Very recently.((es))

Classification[]

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngAs someone who watched the Paralympics, classification was a huge issue. Mallory Weggemann was an American [Paralympic swimmer] who got reclassified at the Games and the Americans were really upset, and the Australians have said classifiers have won them more medals than the athletes themselves. How important is classification for you and are you happy with the system that exists for swimming?

Teresa Perales : Well, since I am also a representative of the Athlete’s Council at the International Paralympic Committee, this is a topic we have discussed there. We think that it is important than in the Olympic year, especially in the last months, and above all during the Games, there should be no classifications. Exactly to avoid these cases, in which sportspeople go up a category or down a category, and mess up the ranking. There have been many cases, in Spain we’ve had cases of people losing a medal because of a reclassification. We are worried about that and by the way in which events, the places to hold the competition, are selected during the Paralympic Games. ((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngIn Atlanta it was really bad…

Teresa Perales : Yes, some even were unable to compete because they were not able to get to the place of the event.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngSome of the people with the Paralympic movement think understanding classification is key towards moving the Games forward, like how do you convey that to the public, how classification works, so when somebody sees you, an S5 swimmer, they go, ‘we got times like this, but the S1 swimmers, this, and I can’t see much of a difference’.

Teresa Perales : Yes, that is one of the problems we have. In fact, it is the biggest problem for having in the future an open class system, a system in which all classes were able to compete together. One of the issues that was being evaluated since before London had to do with the events, not the place but the event, for example 50m butterfly, why now yes and before no, or why before yes and now not? One of the systems proposed, to avoid events from having to disappear, is unifying several categories. In other words, to have one class, but open. ((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngLike skiiing?

Teresa Perales : Yes. It’s similar. Yes, yes, similar to that. They are thinking of doing something similar in swimming, athletics, cycling… in sports with many people. This arises because we have a limited number of people who can participate in the Games, which is 4,000. 4,200, total. It’s 10,000 Olympians, while we are 4,000. And this is an agreement with the Olympic Committee. The Paralympic Committee makes a deal with the Olympic Committee, and that’s why we cannot exceed 4,000, and why some events have to be eliminated. To eliminate events, there is the option to concentrate the classes. But there is a big problem, because the public would not understand me competing against a swimmer who is only missing a hand, because she would obviously beat me. Imagine that I really do beat her not because I arrive before her, but because my time, due to the correction percentages or whatever, is held to be the winner, even if however I came in last position. ((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngThat happened in cycling. Set a World Record, did not win a medal.

Teresa Perales : Yes, I know. Yes, but they have, like in ski. In ski what they do is, time goes slower depending in which category you are in, so that at the end it is the same. Then the public really see that the time is going down and they are seeing a timer, seeing the time slowing down, but at the end they are seeing the same time. Then they see who’s won because they can see the time. The problem happens in sports in which several of us compete simultaneously, eight lanes. It’s difficult to understand.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngHave you ever had any problems with in your career where they’ve said…?

Teresa Perales : No. At first I was in New Zealand, I was S6, and then in 2000? No, in 1999, in the European Championships, I was reclassified, and now I am S5, SB4, and SM5, because they saw my arm is not very good.((es))

Mixing sport and politics[]

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngIn the US, there is a view that celebrities and sportspeople should stay out of politics because… they’re dumb.

Teresa Perales : [Laughs]. Okay, this doesn’t happen in Spain.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Should sportspeople be involved and do Paralympians especially, should they be more involved because of the nature of the sport they are doing in politics, and is it something in Spain and should be done elsewhere in the world… Should there be a call for more Paralympians in politics? Because you protested in Madrid…

Teresa Perales : Yes!((es))

Paralympic swimmer Teresa Perales with Miguel Carballeda; the president of the Spanish Paralympic Committee told IOC inspectors Madrid would stage the “greatest Paralympic Games ever.”
Image: Atr1992.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngAnd you were a politician.

Teresa Perales : I was, I was. [Laughs] No, I worked in politics, I really wasn’t a politician. I believe that when you want things to change, and when you believe that there is something that has to change, you need to be part of the change. And that’s why I entered politics. That’s why I think that it is important that people get involved in politics. And not only… In my case, I didn’t get in for sports politics, I got in for general politics, because I believed there were several things that could be improved or that should be changed, and that’s why I got in. And I believe that sportspeople are very qualified, because, let me give an example. Me, that I spend seven days a week, six hours every day training, seeing the floor and walls, I just can do whatever I want in this life.[Laughs] I know I am not going to go down in the dumps if I have a problem, because while training I know that things may not work out the first day, the second, the third, but someday they will, right? And that’s what sportspeople contribute to any job, and especially to politics. I defend what sportspeople can contribute, I’ve given conference talks on what a sportsperson can contribute to a company, and what a sportsperson can contribute to politics is the same because it is also a job and a company, right? It’s how to manage resources: I manage my resources every day to get the most out of me. I also manage my emotions, because I am a whole. I am a physical whole, but also an emotional whole. And I know I can make decisions in a matter of seconds. I do it every time I compete. My 50m event takes 35 seconds. It’s 35 seconds. Four years, seven days a week, six hours every day for 35 seconds. So I can make decisions and work really well in politics or in whatever I want to. ((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngBecause they are disabled, and the way society treats people with disabilities, sets Paralympians off from able-bodied athletes, does that make it special emphasis that they should be more engaged in the political process than someone like Michael Phelps?

Teresa Perales : Yes, because… I had something very clear when I worked in politics, and it’s that you cannot make policies without the people to whom they are directed. It’s necessary for the people to whom they are destined work in politics, because that will ensure they are right. If not, no. And the people with disabilities, especially sportspeople with disabilities, that we care least of all about the disabilities really, we’ve had to overcome so many things, that we are able to contribute so much more.((es))

Funding Spanish sport[]

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngThe Spanish Paralympic Committee is supported primarily by the Government?

Teresa Perales : No, for us it is the Government and companies. Both do the ADO Paralympic Plan.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngDo they give you as an athlete the support that you need to be successful?

Teresa Perales : No. No, absolutely not. I don’t have a lane for swimming every day, only for me. I have to share it with other, not athletes, not swimmers, people, who come to the swimming pool and then swim, or try to swim. I cannot afford to pay a lane exclusively for my use. It’s 30 euros per hour. I have to pay the ticket for the swimming pool, I have to pay all my travels, not with the national team, but my travels for qualifiers, and I can’t pay my coach, who is in another swimming pool, in another center, because I can’t. Okay, I have to be fair: the ADO Plan pays me 1,900 euros monthly, but I’m a mother, I have a family. I have to pay the school, everything. So this is not enough for me. I have to pay someone to take care of my child when I am competing, when I am in the stages. I remember this year, preparing London, I needed to be out of home for 22 days, twice, ok? I needed to pay someone for being with my baby, and it’s very expensive. So it’s not enough. I win gold so I have this kind of money — is the same [as] sixth place in [the] Olympics. Someone who was sixth at the Olympics has the same as me with a gold medal. I was recently at the Congress of Deputies, and I was talking about this.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngIs the Spanish Paralympic Committee working to fix this? Is it one of their goals to adjust this problem?

Teresa Perales : Yes, but the Spanish Paralympic Committee are… Let me count.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngThey said six…

Teresa Perales : Yeah. [Laughs] It is true that the companies who support us, who support the ADO Paralympian Plan, it’s been easier to get them to sign again after London than those of the Olympians. But then again, it’s because the quantities are smaller!((es))

Being an elite female athlete[]

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngIn other interviews you talk about your family life. That’s interesting, but you are an elite female athlete, and there’s other interesting questions. Is there anything…?

Teresa Perales : As female Paralympians, I think we are one, two, three, four. Four Paralympian mothers. Only. That we go to the Games. ((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngHow many women total, then?

Teresa Perales : Puf, I don’t know. It is very difficult, you know, to be a mother, train, compete, be at the stages, take care of the kid… sometimes it’s a balancing act. Apart from the physical changes that take place when you become a mother. ((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngParalympics in some sports have many fewer women than men, especially skiing. Is that something that exists in swimming, and does it hurt the quality of sport? Because the men in the skiing are like, the women, they are so few of them, they embarrass us, is that something that exists on a swimming level?

Teresa Perales : Yes. But not only in Spain, in the whole world.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngPeople say that women don’t swim as well as the men, because there’s so few?

Teresa Perales : We are very few. In Spain we had a problem before the Games due to the number of spots given to the Spanish women swimmers, which were a third of those offered to the men. And we had female swimmers who made the qualifying time but could not go to the Games. And in Spain qualifiers are hard, there are two kinds: A minimum and B minimum. I’m talking about swimming, athletics… Especially swimming. B minimum is until the eighth position, A minimum is until the third. So, there we women who would have made the finals, and could not go. But this is not a recent problem, it’s because of classification, at the World Championships… it’s not only a problem in Spain. It’s a problem that women do not participate as much as men. I really believe it is a family problem, a cultural problem, and it is a problem that comes from women traditionally doing more things than men and dedicating more time to their families than to training. A man doesn’t have to stop to have a child, usually has more support for the house things, and yet however women don’t.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngIn Australia they say, female sportswomen, fantastic, more medals! So they go for them. And that’s not the case here?

Teresa Perales : No. Not men or women. Only the medals. So if there’s a man who wins more medals, well, okay, the man. The problem is that this has to be potentiated before. It’s like the people with high support needs. There are fewer participants with high support needs, because it is much easier to tend to people with lesser disabilities. It’s like that.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngYou’re really fascinating. It’s a completely different perspective. Is there anything else people should know about Paralympics in Spain, or you?

Teresa Perales : Well, to be fair I should say that my case is special because I’m in Aragón, in Zaragoza, we’re very few sportspeople with disabilities that make the Games. It’s not the same a sportsperson who lives in a city with a High Performance Center, they have it better than me. ((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png I want to thank you a lot, thank you!



Related news[]

Sources[]

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January 4, 2013

Wikinews interviews Australian Paralympic wheelchair basketballer Shelley Chaplin

Wikinews interviews Australian Paralympic wheelchair basketballer Shelley Chaplin

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Friday, January 4, 2013

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Portrait of Australian wheelchair basketballer Shelley Chaplin, 2012.
Image: Australian Paralympic Committee/Australian Sports Commission.

Recently, Wikinews spent time with with Australian Paralympic wheelchair basketballer Shelley Chaplin.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png Interview with Shelley Chaplin. First of all, what position do you play?

Shelley Chaplin: Usually a point guard.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Right. And whenever I go to see the basketball in Canberra, we pass by a glass case. In the case is a guernsey with number twelve on it, and a big sign that says that this was the guernsey worn by Shelley Chaplin…

Shelley Chaplin: That’s me! That’s my…

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png It’s signed by the rest of the team, if you look — press your nose to the glass and look really close. How did that come to be there?

Shelley Chaplin: It’s actually the singlet that I wore in Beijing. Usually you get people to sign stuff. Anyway, the AIS just asked everybody if we would donate something […]. I wasn’t using it so, yeah, I gave them that.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Oh okay.

Shelley Chaplin: I don’t think they have it… It’s been there for a while now. It think that was a four year loan or something like that.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png I think it’s been there for longer than that.

Shelley Chaplin: It’s been there for longer than that. Or — it must be four years around about now. Went in just after Beijing.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png So they’ll return that to you?

Shelley Chaplin: They’ll return it at some point. I mean, I like it. It’s nice to have it there. It’s good that they have some stuff from wheelchair basketball there, and I don’t need it, so, yeah.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png How did you get into playing wheelchair basketball?

Shelley Chaplin: After the Atlanta Paralympics actually. There was a welcome home parade in Melbourne. So I never knew anything about wheelchair sports before that. And I went to the parade, and I used to walk around, but that day I used a wheelchair because I was really tired, and someone just approached me and said “Hey, do you know anything about wheelchair sports? You should get involved!” And, yeah, so I did! I tried everything, and I liked basketball the most.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png And you’re a three point player?

Shelley Chaplin: Three point five.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png I’d never seen the game before. My first experience of it was when the Gliders came out on the court for that first game [in London], and I was really taken with the sport from the word go. It has a sort of grace that normal basketball lacks. But otherwise it’s very similar.

Shelley Chaplin: Yeah! I think people are often quite surprised by wheelchair basketball, what it is when they actually see it. I think the name “wheelchair” basketball means disability obviously, but when you watch it there’s nothing about disability to it at all. Just that we use wheelchairs, and that’s it. It’s just another sport.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png People in the press gallery were saying “I’ve just got to get out in a chair and…”

Shelley Chaplin: Try it! Yeah!

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png So how did you get to go to Illinois?

Shelley Chaplin: After the Athens Paralympics

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png You won the bronze medal there?

Shelley Chaplin: No, we won silver in Athens…

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Silver in Athens, bronze in Beijing.

Shelley Chaplin: Yeah, while I was over there I met one of the American girls, and she was about to take up a scholarship there. And so I ended up meeting the coach, who was in Athens coaching the Canadian men’s team. So I ended up meeting him, and chatting to him about maybe going over there, and then when I got home I followed it up, and they offered me a scholarship, so I took it. So he’d already seen me play at the Paralympics, and knew who I was, so it was good.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Which lead to what we ran on the front page of Wikipedia.

Shelley Chaplin: Oh yeah! I saw that! That was great!

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png That’s why I rang up up and asked for your birth place. Somebody raised an objection, and said maybe she was born in the US.

Shelley Chaplin: Nope!

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png I thought that was pretty spectacular, because there’s not a lot of athletes in any sport that have done that [been All-American without being American].

Shelley Chaplin: Cool. Definitely cool.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png How did your team go while you were there?

Shelley Chaplin: While I was there we… I was there for five years. The first three years we were national champions.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png For five years from 2004 to 2009?

Shelley Chaplin: No, I didn’t actually go until 2005. So I went in August of 2005. And I finished up in May of 2010. I went to five national championships, and we won three and came runners up in two.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Wow!

Shelley Chaplin: Yeah! We had a good team.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png So you said you played for a club here in Melbourne as well?

Shelley Chaplin: Yeah, I play for the Dandenong Rangers here. We’ve just won two championships in a row. So… hopefully three this year.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Wow!

Shelley Chaplin: Yeah! It’s pretty cool.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png That’s a pretty amazing record.

Shelley Chaplin: Yeah.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png And then of course there’s the Gliders as well. You’ve got the gold… no wait…

Shelley Chaplin: No, not the gold! Not yet! Two silvers and a bronze!

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png I was sure you’d be saying “I’ve already got the silver and the bronze. Give me the gold!”

Shelley Chaplin: Yeah, that’s exactly what I was saying! No, I think we just had a young team and…

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Well, the team’s pretty much the same one as in Athens isn’t it?

Shelley Chaplin: No! There was probably only four players from Athens that were the same. We’ve got a lot of young players that are just sort of coming into their own in wheelchair basketball, so.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png What I noticed was when I looked over the statistics of basketball over the time you’ve been playing, the scores have been going up.

Shelley Chaplin: Yes. I think that’s partly to do with that we changed to a size six ball, so we went to a women’s ball. Until 2006 we were still playing with a size seven, which is a men’s ball. So we changed that. I think that helped with our statistics, ’cause it’s easier for women to handle the ball and stuff like that. I also think there’s been a big increase in the professionalism of wheelchair basketball internationally, so you have a lot of people who are training every day for this. Whereas I know leading into Athens not everyone was training full time. But now everyone’s a full time athlete.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png So you are a full time athlete?

Shelley Chaplin: Yep, I was. Leading into London I was. So from halfway through 2011 till the Paralympics — so, probably a year — I was a full time athlete. So we trained three times a day, five days a week. Play on the weekends.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png So you got a grant from the government?

Shelley Chaplin: Yep, the Australian Sports Commission supports us. And so does Basketball Australia obviously. […]

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png That’s pretty intense though. Have you taken a break since then?

Shelley Chaplin: Yeah, since London I haven’t played any basketball. Been doing a lot of different things.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Like what?

Shelley Chaplin: Just gotten into hand cycling actually.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Oh okay.

Shelley Chaplin: Yeah, so myself and one of my team mates, Leanne del Toso, who was in London as well, we have decided to do a fund raiser. So we’re going to ride around the perimeter of Fiji. And so it’s 550 kilometres in ten days. So I’m going to be on a hand cycle, and Leanne, who can walk, is going to be on a real bike. She has really weak legs. So we’re going to do that. Raise some money and awareness for women in sport.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Wow!

Shelley Chaplin: Yeah, it’s really exciting.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png When is that?

Shelley Chaplin: We go in June. But next month we’re going to launch a big fund raising campaign to get together all the money to do it all. But yeah, it’s pretty cool.

Shelley Chaplin’s guernsey on display at the Australian Institute of Sport.
Image: LauraHale.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Are you still with the basketball? Are you going to continue with that?

Shelley Chaplin: Yep! I do! So two weeks, no less than two weeks, the fourteenth of January, we go to the AIS for our first training camp of the Rio campaign.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png So I might be able to catch you guys again there.

Shelley Chaplin: From the fourteenth to the seventeenth.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png It must have been disappointing in London — Let me put it like this: I’m watching the game, and it’s “oh no, they’re losing” but you don’t look like you’re losing. You look like you’re having the time of your life.

Shelley Chaplin: Yeah! Definitely. I mean, what we play for is to play on the world stage and it is a lot of fun.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Did you see how many people were there was?

Shelley Chaplin: Yeah, it was insane. In-sane.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png I was staring up at the top and I could not see the top rows. They were completely in darkness.

Shelley Chaplin: There was so many people there, and they were all supporting us. It was so much fun. It was the best I’ve ever done. But yeah, of course it’s disappointing, because you don’t want to win silver, or lose gold, but…

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png The silver’s pretty good!

Shelley Chaplin: Yeah, being second in the world’s pretty good, definitely, but silver’s tough.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png It’s just that the Gliders have never won. They’ve never won the World Championship, they’ve never won at the Paralympics.

Shelley Chaplin: We’ve never won. Yeah, so obviously we wanted to change that. So yeah, definitely disappointing. We did what we were capable of. It wasn’t like we underperformed. We didn’t play badly. We just weren’t quite good enough.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Yeah.

Shelley Chaplin: And the Germans were very good. They worked really hard.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Really good.

Shelley Chaplin: They were very good, so…

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png You played pretty well.

Shelley Chaplin: We had patches where we didn’t play well, but that’s basketball.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png The whole team needed to find something and lift, because like… we interviewed one of your team mates, and she we can’t expect to win if we’re shooting 39 per cent. Then of course you went ahead and won two games shooting 39 per cent, which sort of made a bit of a liar out of her…

Shelley Chaplin: Yeah, well our biggest strength was our defence, so if we can play the defence, we can.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png The defence was where you won those games. You blocked them off. Particularly Mexico, they couldn’t… Canada was even better. You kept on forcing turnovers, forcing timeouts. That was the defensive game, was the way you won it.

Shelley Chaplin: Absolutely.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png But Germany had a good defensive game as well. It must have been good, playing on your birthday.

Shelley Chaplin: It was really cool. The whole team, the whole Australian Paralympic team wished me happy birthday, the whole crowd sang me happy birthday and this sort of stuff. It was pretty special, but once you get into it, it’s just another game. I know all the people were talking about the fact that it was my birthday, but it didn’t [get to me]. It was fun. It was fun. Not a bad place to have your birthday.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png So how do you compare London with Beijing and Athens?

Shelley Chaplin: Well, I think every games gets a little bit better anyway. Like, Beijing was better than Athens and I think London was a lot better than Beijing again. But I think the special thing about London is that it was British, and so they obviously support Australians, but we were just athletes to them, I think. Whereas in Beijing we were still disabled athletes. But in London we were just athletes and they loved our sport and they understood our sport, which was really cool. The crowds… it was amazing.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png We have a lot of statistics on the response to it. Unfortunately, being in London I couldn’t see the TV coverage.

Shelley Chaplin: Back here the ABC did a fantastic job with us. Everybody knows about the Paralympics. Everybody saw something.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Apparently there was extra requests for the Gliders. So more people wanted to see you.

Shelley Chaplin: People like basketball. Basketball is very easy to relate to. Team sports are good to watch. But I think, like I was saying earlier, if you take away the wheelchair, there’s nothing to do with disabilities. If an able bodied jumped into a wheelchair, it’s exactly the same as us. Whereas an able bodied can’t run against someone with blades. You know?

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Yes.

Shelley Chaplin: So I think that’s why; it’s very relatable, and obviously it’s fun to watch.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png It seems be be getting bigger with each set of games.

Shelley Chaplin: Definitely.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png I’ve got figures from Google. London is twice as big.

Shelley Chaplin: Yep. Absolutely. The Paralympic movement is exciting because we’re all amateur athletes, and we’re all doing it because we love the sport. I think, during Beijing, I know in the Australian media they tried to get everyone to look away from our disabilities and look at us just as athletes, but I think in London they were like, here’s their disabilities, here’s what they are doing athletically, and combining the two, which made for amazing coverage, right? Cause everyone understood our disabilities but our sport as well.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Some of the things you were doing. The three point shot from a chair.

Shelley Chaplin: Yeah.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png And the speed at which you moved at times, in excess of what someone without a chair could do. It’s just a fabulous sport.

Shelley Chaplin: I think so!

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Are you’re definitely up for Rio as well?

Shelley Chaplin: Yep. Definitely. Obviously, it will be my fourth games and I was going to retire after London, but I’m still good enough to do it, and I’m young, I’m only only 28. So, yeah, I think I can play another games in me. The Paralympic movement as I was saying is so exciting right now. I can’t even imagine what Rio is going to be like. It’s going to be massive. Yeah, I want to be part of it. And representing your country is a big deal.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Well I look forward to seeing you there. Thanks very much!

Shelley Chaplin: No worries!



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