Gold medallist Ade Adepitan grew up in Newham, a host borough for the Games. He tells Green Futures about the impact he believes it will have on his local area and on young people across the world.
Ade Adepitan was born in Maryland, Nigeria, in 1973. He contracted polio in his first year, losing the use of his left leg. When he was three, his family moved to Newham, London – now a host borough for the 2012 Games. In 2004, Ade won a bronze medal for basketball at the Paralympics in Athens, and then gold at the 2005 Paralympic World Cup in Manchester. He was an integral part of the delegation that went to Singapore to win the 2012 bid for London, and is a BT Ambassador for the London Olympic and Paralympic Games.
"I remember watching the Games on TV at an early age, and from that moment on thinking all I wanted to do was win a medal in the Paralympics for Britain. I'd love to think that the Paralympics in London can inspire another generation of young children to take up sport. So many opportunities have come my way through my sporting career. The message that you can do something you love, and be the best at it – whether you are disabled or not – is something that is very close to my heart.
London 2012 is the best thing to happen in the capital for a long time. I grew up in Plaistow, not far from where the Olympic Park is now. That part of London had been neglected for a long time, and I think the regeneration of the local area will benefit East London enormously. Now, everyone living there can benefit from the investment that has taken place.
I'll be working for Channel 4 during the Paralympic Games, and I'm looking forward to playing my part in getting the country excited about Paralympic sport. Events like the annual BT Paralympic World Cup in Manchester have gone a huge way to raising the profile of disability sport, and disability athletes, in this country as well as internationally. The Paralympic Games will elevate this even further, and so we really need to capitalise on this opportunity and keep the momentum going beyond 2012."
Photos: Ho New / Reuters; BT