In his final blog for the Tennis Foundation, Dermot Bailey reflects on his time in Rio as part of the Paralympic Inspiration Programme and looks ahead to Tokyo 2020.
We returned from Rio on Tuesday after a whirlwind trip experiencing everything about the Paralympics. With a few days to recover and get over the jet lag I have reflected on an incredible experience and one that has inspired me hugely as I aim for Tokyo 2020.
In our final few days in Rio we enjoyed watching more Paralympic sports including powerlifting. Someone asked me if there was one sport I had watched which I’d like to take up and I said Powerlifting. The atmosphere in the arena was incredible and the weights they were lifting were massive. Watching the Nigerian Paul Kehinde smash the World Record not once, but twice was incredible.
Some of the sessions which I found really useful were the ones around energy conservation and management during the Games. It’s easy to see how you can get caught up in the excitement and hype of the Paralympics and use up a lot of energy which can affect your experience. Even just pushing from the village to the food hall three times a day was enough to rack up 10,000 steps on a FitBit. That’s energy you want to save if you’re competing. So I learnt a lot about being smart about where you are eating and conserving energy for when you really need it.
Another really important thing I learnt is that in terms of the tennis centre it’s really not that different to a normal tournament. Whilst it’s unlike other tournaments in many ways it actually is very similar so it’s all about just keeping your normal routine which help you perform to your best. It’s been fantastic as well to watch the British players have so much success and I’ve been supporting them all from in front of my TV at home. It just makes me even hungrier to be part of that team in 2020.
On our last day in Rio we got the chance to relax and I we visited the beach to chill out and enjoy our last few hours which was really nice before the long flight back to the UK. It’s been an incredible experience and I’d like to thank the Tennis Foundation and Paralympics GB for giving me the opportunity to be part of it. I’m now getting back into training to prepare for my next tournament in October. I can’t wait to get back on court and start my journey towards Tokyo.
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