Quite different Olympic Games
In all, 31 Belarusian athletes are travelling to London for the Paralympic Games, each commanding great respect, regardless of whether they reach the finals in any event. They deserve a medal simply for their determination in overcoming difficulties. However, there is no doubt that they have a desire for victory in their hearts.
By Egor Glebov
The Belarusian national team will be taking part in athletics, swimming, rowing, fencing, judo, cycling and weightlifting, with some chance of medals, notes the Secretary General of the Belarusian Paralympic Committee, Nikolay Shudeiko. “80 percent of those taking part went to Beijing, including those who won medals. We’ll surely claim awards in all kinds of events.”
Tamara Sivakova, who won the discus in Beijing and took silver in the shot putt, is among the favourites, alongside previous gold medallists in the tandem road race Irina Fedotova and Yelena Drozdova and long jumper Olga Zinkevich. Of course, multi Paralympic champion Lyudmila Volchek is sure to delight fans but these old hands are also joined by fresh young athletes, who are sure to cause a stir and step up to the podium.
The Paralympic Games in Athens 2004 were the most successful for Belarus, with 30 athletes bringing home 29 awards: 10 gold, 12 silver and 7 bronze. Four years ago, our squad took 13 medals from Beijing but the Paralympic Committee is avoiding setting firm targets, despite their optimism.
Fortunately, no acclimatisation is needed for London (as hindered many of our athletes in Beijing) and the Chinese will lack the home advantage (in Beijing, they won nearly half of all medals). In the UK, a wider range of athletes will have the chance to claim medals; we hope, there will be many Belarusians among them.