Many people have been watching sport not only to cheer their team but also to get inspired by the hope, the frustration, the joy and the despair, to feel elation and sadness, excitement and disappointment. This whirlwind of emotions seems synonymous with the Para Athletics Championship 2017 held in London Olympic Stadium, that idea of hope in overcoming the odds, the stories that may be sad, tragic, and moving.
Classification is simply a structure for competition. Not unlike boxing and weightlifting, where athletes are categorized by weight classes, athletes with disabilities are grouped in classes defined by the degree of function presented by the disability.Traditionally there are athletes who belong to six different disability groups in the Paralympic Movement: amputee, cerebral palsy, visual impairment, spinal cord injuries, intellectual disability and a group which includes all those that do not fit into the aforementioned groups.Some of the athletes had inborn limitations, other acquired.But features that you can surely find among all the athletes in Para athletics are courage, determination, inspiration and equality. Athletes can be inspirational. The World Athletic Championship has shown this. Yet the inspiration that greeted successful athletes is not the same as that being attributed to their disabled counterparts. An Olympian is deemed inspirational because of what they have achieved. An para-athlete is an inspiration because, despite it all, they've made it this far. It is, in part, a reflection of the unspoken thought that hides in perceptions of disability: a disabled life is a critical existence that only the most courageous could "overcome".