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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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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.

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!



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Sources[]

Wikinews
This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.
Wikinews
This article is a featured article. It is considered one of the best works of the Wikinews community. See Wikinews:Featured articles for more information.


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January 8, 2013

Three cities submit bids for 2020 Summer Olympics

Three cities submit bids for 2020 Summer Olympics

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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The bidding cities for the 2020 Olympic Games (Baku, Doha, Istanbul, Madrid and Tokyo) are represented by red dots, and their respective countries (Azerbaijan, Qatar, Turkey, Spain and Japan) are filled in in black.
Image: Kartin.

Yesterday in Lausanne, Switzerland, three cities, Tokyo, Istanbul and Madrid, submitted their official bid books to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as part of their efforts to secure the 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympics for their cities.

The books contain each city’s plans for the Games as they relate to key hosting aspects such as venues, budgets, financial guarantees, security, accommodations, and transportation. These are scheduled to be made public today. The host city is to be named on September 7 at the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires, where a new IOC President is also to be chosen. All the bids are being viewed against a backdrop of the global economic downturn, with hosting costs and the national economy possibly playing a role in voter decision-making.

Baku in Azerbaijan and Doha in Qatar took part in the first stage of the bid process but were eliminated from contention in May at a meeting of the IOC’s Executive Board in Quebec City, Canada. Rome had considered a bid but withdrew early in the process because of Italian economic concerns. An IOC report said Istanbul’s bid “offers good potential” while Madrid had “a strong application” and Tokyo had “a very strong application.”

A sign in Tokyo supporting their 2020 Olympic bid
Image: 高木あゆみ.

Bookmakers have given Tokyo best odds to receive the Games at 4/6 compared to 5/2 for Istanbul and 3/1 for Madrid. Tokyo’s bid delegation included a member of the women’s FIFA World Cup champions Homare Sawa, 2008 Summer Paralympics swimming gold medalist Takayuki Suzuki, President of Tokyo 2020 and Japanese Olympic Committee Tsunekazu Takeda, bid chief executive Masato Mizuno, senior director for planning for sports at Tokyo 2020 Katsura Enyo, and a member of the Executive Board for Tokyo’s bid Yasuhiro Nakamori. Tokyo last hosted the Olympics in 1964 and had previously won the rights to host the later canceled 1940 Summer Olympics. This is their second consecutive bid, having lost to Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Summer Olympics. Bid organizers believe the Games would be an uplifting force for a country still recovering from a natural disaster in 2011. A possible complication to Tokyo’s bid is territorial disputes with China.

Sawa is quoted by Inside the Games, an Olympic and Paralympics news site, saying, “I want to feel that deeply moving spirit from the London Games once again in Tokyo, […] I want to do all I can.”

Takeda is quoted by Inside the Games saying of the bid, “With tremendous support from people in Tokyo and across Japan, we have celebrated a memorable milestone today with the submission of our Candidature file, […] Based on lessons from our bid for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games, we have retained the best of that bid plan while adding important new strengths. Now that our Candidature file is complete, Tokyo is one step closer to implementing an innovative and inspiring Games plan. The Games in 2020 in Tokyo will offer athletes, spectators and Olympic and Paralympic family members a true once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

Most of the infrastructure for a Tokyo Games has been built, which assists in keeping costs down as the world economy is a potential concern for financing the Games. Takeda remarked, “Many of our venues are in place; most of the games infrastructure is in place and the $4.5 billion budget to complete these tasks is already in the bank.” Despite Tokyo’s positive early response from the IOC, there is no guarantee the city will be selected as previous early favourites have failed to win hosting rights when it came down to the final vote. Amongst possible concerns, their bid could be undermined by South Korea’s hosting of the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Istanbul are bidding for the fifth time, with this bid viewed as their most competitive and serious one to date. Their bid was presented by the city’s mayor, Kadir Topbaş, the bid leader Hasan Arat, President of the National Olympic Committee of Turkey and president of the World Archery Federation Uğur Erdener, Deputy Undersecretary of the Minister of Youth and Sports Yavuz Çelik, and general director of sports for Istanbul 2020 Mehmet Baykan. Their bid calls for the largest Opening Ceremonies in Olympic Games history, with a ceremony on the European and Asian banks of the Bosphorus involving a half million people. Istanbul’s bid calls for events to be held on two continents, which the bid organizers believe gives them an advantage of Madrid and Japan, as this fits within the framework of the Olympic ideal. That they have not hosted the Games previously is another potential positive as the most recent successful bids for the Olympic and Paralympic Games were in cities that had never hosted them before. Turkey’s bid is bolstered by having successfully hosted the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Athletics and the FINA World Short Course Swimming Championships last year. The strength of the Turkish economy is also seen as a positive with their bid going forward. Their bid is hurt by ongoing disputes with Syria that has resulted in 150,000 Syrian refugees living on the Turkish side of the border.

Atatürk Olympic Stadium/Atatürk Olimpiyat Stadı in Istanbul
Image: Bjørn Christian Tørrissen (Uspn).

Arat is quoted by Inside the Games on the bid saying, “This milestone is the latest step in our 20-year journey to win the honour of hosting the Games, […] For the very first time, our desire to host the Games is matched by our capacity. We have been learning and evolving every step of the way, and today we are submitting a brand new and dramatically enhanced Games concept. Istanbul 2020 has a technically outstanding master plan and delivery structure, and we would grab the world’s attention with a breathtaking setting and a series of groundbreaking firsts, such as being the first ever Games held in two continents simultaneously. Now is the time for Istanbul; now we are ready to deliver.”

Istabul’s mayor Topbaş arrived at the last minute to assist in the bid submission despite bad winter weather in Istanbul. Quoted by Inside the Games, he said of the city’s bid, “Today is a historic moment for Istanbul and the Turkish nation, […] Istanbul 2020 is the first sports bid in Turkish history to have been officially launched by the Prime Minister, and it has been identified as a strategic national priority. As such, this bid has the unequivocal backing of every level of Government. […] The Games would enhance Istanbul’s growing global status as a place to visit, do business and, increasingly, stage world-class sport, […] We are all aligned behind our shared vision: hosting the Games for the first time would be the defining achievement in nearly 100 years of the Republic of Turkey.”

Madrid’s bid comes at a time when the Spanish economy is in the middle of a second recession where unemployment hovers around 25 per cent and on the heels of two previous failed bids. Bid organizers believe the Games could serve as an economic driver for the country. Juan Antonio Samaranch Salisachs, International Triathlon Union President and IOC member Marisol Casado, International Canoe Federation President and IOC member José Perurena López, Madrid mayor Ana Botella, Madrid’s bid leader and the president of the Spanish Olympic Committee Alejandro Blanco, President of the Sports Council Miguel Cardenal, the Councillor for Education, Sports and Youth with the Madrid Regional Government Lucia Figar, and two-time Olympic gold medal sailor Theresa Zabell were part of the Madrid bid delegation. In submitting their bid, they gave a half-hour presentation to the IOC’s head of Bid City Relations Jacqueline Barrett and Executive Director of the Olympic Games Gilbert Felli.

Comité Olímpico Español headquarters in Madrid
Image: Luis García (Zaqarbal).

Madrid’s mayor is quoted by Inside the Games on the bid as “a project the whole country is behind and a dream for all Spaniards […] The proof can be seen in the fact that three levels of Government are represented here — the city, the regional and the national. We are here to give our support to the countless people who are working for and believe in Madrid’s Olympic aspirations.”

Like Tokyo, much of the sport-related infrastructure for a Madrid-hosted Games already exists. This would keep infrastructure costs down and make the Games more affordable for Spain. Their bid is the least expensive of all the submitted bids. London’s recent hosting of the Games is seen as potentially harmful to their bid because two Games in Europe within only a few Olympic cycles runs counter to traditional Games hosting.

The IOC’s Evaluation Commission is scheduled to visit each city in March, with their first scheduled visit starting March 4 in Tokyo, then starting March 18 in Madrid and wrapping up their city visits starting March 24 in Istanbul. Following their visits, the Commission is to write and submit a report to IOC membership by July 4 to assist voters in making their decision.



Sources

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