The annual two day sporting competition recently took place at the Pattaya Redemptorist Technological College for People with Disabilities, with more than one hundred and fifty students taking part.
As in previous years the students were divided into four coloured teams, and points were competed for in a variety of sports: athletics, field (shot, javelin and discus), swimming, boccia, wheelchair fencing, petanque, wheelchair basketball and two types of volleyball, standing and sitting.
The team sport heats and finals had taken place over several weeks so the two day competitions were taken up with mostly the athletics, swimming and field events.
As there are many categories of disability, so there are many races for each competition. In the 100m race for men there is the race for wheelchair users with upper body strength and one for those with a weak upper body. There is a 100m running race for amputees, lower and upper limbs, upper body weakness and for those with cerebral palsy. And after the 100m race there is also the 200m, 400m, 800m and the 1500m races with all the various categories.
It’s been said many times that taking part in a sport is not all about winning, but for the athlete who trains and works hard every day then crossing the finish line first and winning points for your team is the one and only goal.
But there are some athletes who, due to the severity of their disability, may have no chance of ever winning a race; but they take part because even coming last in a race earns your team at least one point.
The eventual winners were the Green Team, and if you were in Pattaya and listening quietly at 4 p.m. on the afternoon of the 26th of July, you may just have heard them cheering and screaming in delight; they were so loud and excited.
Over the years the school has produced many athletes who have gone on to represent the school and province at national level. A few have gone on to participate in the S.E. Asia Games, Asian Games and the Paralympics, and bring back to Pattaya their medals and their influence.