World of Sport

Your guide to watching the Paralympics

World of Sport

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Tickets for
the 2012 London Paralympics went on sale on Friday, with Games chief Sebastian
Coe predicting that there will be a total sell-out of the 1.5 million available
seats initially available.

There are
20 sports on the programme for the Games, which run from 29 August to 9
September and use many of the same venues as the proper Olympics.

Here is our
Q&A guide to buying seats for the world's top sporting event for people
with disabilities.

Where can I get tickets?

As with the
Olympics, application is an online ballot process via the official website. You're not guaranteed to get
the tickets you request, but demand is naturally expected to be much lower  than for the main event. For those who aren't
online (we'll ignore the question of how you're reading this if not) you can
pick up application forms in Lloyds TSB, Bank of Scotland, or most public libraries
if you're in Northern Ireland.

How much will seats cost?

Prices
range from £5 - that's for special seats for those 16 and under or 60 and over
- to a maximum £500 for the opening ceremony. Organisers have promised that
half the seats will cost £10 or less and 75 per cent will cost £20 or less. Some 1.5 million tickets will be available initially, with another 500,000 to follow in subsequent ticket offers.

Anything else I need to know about tickets?

Yep. Many are
normal 'reserved seat' tickets, including all athletics, swimming and cycling
tickets, and many tickets for finals -- but for many sessions you'll also be
able to get 'general admission' tickets which will let you
sit where you like. You'll also be able to buy 'day passes' for some areas -- the
Olympic Park, Royal Artillery Barracks and Excel Arena -- which let you wander
in and out to see various different sports all in one day.

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Sounds interesting, what could I see
that way?

At the Olympic
Park you'll be able to watch wheelchair tennis, wheelchair rugby, goalball,
five-a-side football, wheelchair basketball and seven-a-side football; at the Royal
Artillery Barracks you can see archery and shooting; and at Excel, it'll be judo,
table tennis, sitting volleyball, wheelchair fencing (pictured, left), powerlifting and boccia.

Boccia? Sounds like a delicious Italian bread!

Boccia (pictured below, right) is actually a form of bowls for athletes with extreme cerebral palsy, and is
considered one of the most absorbing Paralympic events.

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What else would you recommend?

Wheelchair
basketaball needs no introduction for most; for those who like rough and tumble,
wheelchair rugby (pictured, top right) is an endless succession of dramatic crashes; goalball is a
fascinating team sport for blind athletes that uses a ball with bells embedded
inside; while seven-a-side football, which wisely jettisoned the offside rule,
is often thrilling entertainment, as is the five-a-side tournament for the
visually impaired.

Any chance of a freebie?

Yep -
there's no charge to watch the sailing events down in Weymouth.

Will I see Brits winning gold?

Almost
certainly. Britain has come second in the medal table at the last three
Paralympics, winning 42 golds and 60 silvers and bronzes in Beijing. Athletics,
swimming, rowing, cycling and dressage are the best bets to see gold, while
wheelchair tennis legend Peter Norfolk will also be hoping to repeat his
Olympic success in Athens in 2004.

 

 

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