At the Paralympics

I was at the Paralympic Games a week last Sunday.  Here’s the picture of me at the ExCel Centre.  I was there, courtesy of a friend (Craig Beaumont) who got tickets, for the table-tennis.  The atmosphere, as throughout the Games, was remarkable.  It was not just British competitors getting a great cheer, but a number of national competitor had a large body of supporters. 

I was present for matches for medallists.  The matches are much shorter than in my day: it used to be the best of 21 points whereas now it is the best of 11.  All the matches were close, which was good for the audience.  One abiding memory was of a young Thai player.  He won the gold after a close contest with a Spanish player.  Once he played the winning shot and realised he had won the gold medal, he knocked over the barrier as he jumped to embrace his coach; he then grabbed a picture of the Thai king and draped himself in the Thai flag to have his picture taken, before doing a lap of honour.  I see Thailand gained other gold medals at the Paralympics, so I don’t know if other Thai competitors did the same or if this player has the distinction of being the only player who was pictured holding a picture of his monarch.


About Lord Norton

Professor of Government at Hull University, and Member of the House of Lords
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6 Responses to At the Paralympics

  1. Daniel Olive says:

    I was a Gamesmaker on the Boulevard, I almost saw you! I’m glad you had a good time.

  2. franksummers3ba says:

    Lord Norton,
    The Thais are usually very devoted to the King and the Monarchy. Such outpourings are fairly norrmal i would think (while he may still be the only one picture holding the image). Many older Thais still remember a coup in which tanks, troops and motorized artillery rolled up around the palace and the king neither fled nor stayed behind his significant loyal ceremonial guards. Rather he walked out alone into the oncoming host and cleaned his glasses until the commander arrived. Hearing the first bluster he said he found it difficult to speak with all the tank engine noise and so forth and could no go further from the palace to discuss a constitutional matter.

    The commander sent most of tanks and the troops home and the two discussed not only the current coup but the grievances leading to it and set out the broad strokes of civil constitutional reform. For some reason or other the Thais were impressed by this… Such is the legend anyway that gets around most of East Asia.


  3. ladytizzy says:

    Talking of ties…

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