Once again, it has been a while since I have posted – sorry about that, life got in the way! I don’t have any more volunteering for a while so I have time to relive last summer again with you, and my experiences at London 2017. I will also fill you in on the ITTF Table Tennis World Cup, and Yonex All England Badminton Championships that took place in February and March and how I got on there.
Back to London 2017, and we have reached day three of competition (only 9 months late!) and I was feeling the pace a bit too much so missed the morning session that I had booked. I was meant to be going with Stacey again, but she was still hanging from her Friday night birthday celebrations, and I thought I was tired. Take me seven days later, and I really did know what tired was.
I wasn’t going to miss the evening session, as it was a big one – men’s T44 100m final and Jonnie Peacock racing. I have seen Jonnie race several times since London 2012, but I have never seen him win a race. He did of course storm to victory, claiming the gold in Rio during the Paralympics, where my mate Liam Malone got the silver. Home turf however, at the Anniversary Games I have been to, Jonnie wasn’t ever able to pull it out of the bag but I had high hopes; Jonnie was finally going to win while I was there watching.
I met Mandy, Vicki, Liz and Kevin in the afternoon so we could have something to eat and have a proper catch up and of course discuss the action from the evening before which was amazing. It was a lovely sunny day, and I met them at Westfield and we sat outside to eat and have a few drinks. It was so lovely to hear my friends speak of how much they had enjoyed the Parasport from the evening before and then how much they were looking forward to the session that evening – and how much they enjoyed hearing about my volunteering experiences so far. We had lots of fun, getting all geared up for the evening action, and ensured that we went to look at the warm up track before making out way to our seats – again, I was in the home straight, and they were in the back straight. I got myself all settled in my seat, got my Union Jack flag out (as I was sitting behind two completely empty rows, so essentially I was in the front!) and draped it over the back of the seats in front. I had a message from my Twitter friend Si who I have met a couple of times, and he came over to say hello and that was just as Vicki took a photo of me from the back straight – here it is below!
My friend Liam was trackside once again, and where I was sitting was right next to him. I even ended up on the TV sitting behind him when they were talking about the race that he should have been in, the T44 100m semi’s and final. It was really amazing to meet him during the games, and to speak to him, but I was as disappointed as he was that he wasn’t racing. He has since retired from athletics which is also really disappointing as I won’t ever see him race in the flesh against Jonnie.
Monica, who was also part of the London 2017 Volunteers Facebook group loved my selfies with Liam that I had shared, and said she was spectating on the Sunday evening and would love to meet him. I added her on Facebook and we arranged to make a plan on the evening if Liam was there again. Of course I spotted him, sent her a message and we arranged to meet at the top of the block I was in so I could take him down to meet him.
She was there when she said, wearing a lovely blue top and I gave her a big hug when we met. It had become like a real community on the Facebook group, and although there are many people I never did get to meet, it did introduce me to a lot of people that I did get to meet and make friends with. Monica and I had a little chat, and then I led her down the steps towards where Liam was. We had to wait a few moments as a race was going on and the spectators were very quiet, but soon he was “standing down” and we could go and meet him. I stepped forward, called him over and he came bounding over as always. I told him I had brought my friend to meet him, and she said hello and had a photo with him. As always, he was just lovely and charming.
The evening was wonderful for Jonnie Peacock – who stormed to the first ever win I have seen him achieve in the flesh – but watching Liam watch a World Championship final that he should have been part of was heartbreaking. I had had such high hopes and excitement since Rio 2016 to get to see The Kiwi vs The Peacock go head to head at London 2017. As I was so close to where Liam was, I watched him as the T44 100m finalists all lined up at on the blocks, waiting for the gun. He was absolutely gutted not to be part of it.
It was an emotional evening, with Jonnie winning and seeing Liam missing out, but I enjoyed it of course. I had to get home realtively quickly after the session ended as my first 6am volunteering shift was looming on the Monday morning, and my alarm was set for 4.15am…!