Up with the larks and off to sport specific competition for the Paralympic Inspiration Programme (PiP) athletes. Today was all about understanding the competition environment and pinpointing the things that differ and remain the same at a Paralympic Games.
For the equestrian athletes it was a bus journey to the venue ahead of the Grade II and Grade IA classes and some real medal hopes for ParalympicsGB. Not only did they get the chance to see the Brits dominate in the arena, they also bumped into Lee Pearson, ParalympicsGB flagbearer for the opening ceremony.
PiP athlete Emma Douglas said "It was great to get some time with Lee Pearson, we also got to see the mix zone after one of the medal ceremonies and that was really interesting. Overall it's been inspiring and eye-opening and we're really looking forward to the next few days."
It was a great day had by the archers, not only did the athletes get a behind the scenes tour by Archery GB, but also got to head into the field of play to soak up what it would be like to shoot at a major Games.
The day started with a Q&A session on the bus and filling the out of handbooks, once at the venue the group quickly scurried up to the viewing area as a GB archer was in action and it was simply a great opportunity to get into observation mode and capture the key components of competing at the Paralympics. Once the match was done and dusted there was time for some conversation with Directors and Sponsors where the group had the opportunity to explain more about the Programme. After networking they got the opportunity to go behind the scenes in a tour of the warm-up and practice area normally strictly off-bounds which was great to see. The day was top-offed by a once in a life-time opportunity to wheel out on to the field of play for some last minute photographs. On the return journey it was time to reflect on the day, the experience and picking out the different components that take place and what it takes to be a professional athlete.
Next up was the Wheelchair Rugby where Great Britain took on Canada and had the whole crowd, including the PiP wheelchair rugby athletes Stu and Ollie on the edge of their seats as they watched GB loose agonisingly in the three minutes over-time after leading throughout. Despite the loss athletes took a lot away, including closing out pivotal moments in tight games.
The cycling group traversed the coast to Pontal for the hand cycling road races- Andy and Steve joined the Brits in the team area to look at the set up and understand more about what goes on behind the scenes at a Paralympic Games.
Steve Arnold said: “it's been an incredible day! Amazing to see my race but slightly strange not to be competing. It has made me even more determined to be there in four years.”
After spending time in Pontal the group moved onto swimming on the Olympic Park- it has been fantastic to watch the teams work together and share their experiences of their sports with their PIP teammates.
Elsewhere military athlete Nick Beighton took Bronze in the KL2 Final – the 34-year-old getting on the podium four years after finishing fourth in the sport of rowing at London 2012.
Tomorrow sees the group visit the athlete village and British House – opportunity to understand the environment in which athletes live during Games-time and also the chance to visit the purpose-built facility for UK media and friends and family.