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                           | pdf edition | Saturday September 8 2012                                                      Sport
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Lewis Hamilton of McLaren claims pole
for F1’s Italian Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton put his distractions behind him to take pole for
Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix, ahead of McLaren team-mate Jenson
Button Page 2


Andy Murray gets the lowdown on Tomas
Berdych from Ivan Lendl
Andy Murray’s coach, Ivan Lendl, has given him an insight into his
semi-final opponent, Tomas Berdych Page 2



Paralympics 2012: David Stone scares
himself into keeping cycling title
David Stone admitted stronger competition had frightened him
into going faster in the trike road race at the Paralympics Page 3




England’s Laura                              What have we                                 London 2012                     Victoria Azarenka to
Marsh leads revenge                          learned from the                             Paralympic Games: 8             face Serena Williams
mission against West                         Paralympic Games?                           September schedule              in US Open final
Indies women Page 4                          Page 5                                       Page 7                          Page 8

F1 is too expensive                          Paralympics 2012: 8                          US Open 2012:                   Wigan sweat on
and could lose teams,                        September schedule                           Women’s tennis is too           Michael McIlorum
says FIA president                           Page 6                                       loud - and there’s not          ban after defeat to St
Jean Todt Page 5                                                                          enough of it Page 7             Helens Page 9




guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                                                   guardian.co.uk
Registered in England and Wales. No. 908396. Registered office: PO Box 68164, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London, N1P 2AP
Page  G24 Sport                                                               Saturday September 8 2012                14:45 GMT

                                                                     coming home behind Massa, ahead of Michael Schumacher and
                                                                     Sebastian Vettel – but he drops to ninth because of a five-place
Lewis Hamilton of McLaren claims pole                                grid penalty.
for F1’s Italian Grand Prix

• McLaren take one-two with Jenson                                   Andy Murray gets the lowdown on
Button in second                                                     Tomas Berdych from Ivan Lendl
• Felipe Massa third while Fernando Alonso
is only 10th                                                         • World No4 faces Czech in US Open semi-
Paul Weaver at Monza                                                 final
                                                                     • Lendl has followed Berdych’s career
                                                                     closely
                                                                     Kevin Mitchell at Flushing Meadows




Lewis Hamilton of McLaren en route to pole position for
F1’s Italian Grand Prix at Monza, ahead of Jenson Button.
Photograph: Alessandro Trovati/AP
Lewis Hamilton put all his distractions behind him to take pole      Andy Murray with Ivan Lendl during a practice session ahead
position for Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix and it will be an all-      of the Scot’s US Open semi-final against Tomas Berdych.
McLaren front row with Jenson Button putting in a great late lap     Photograph: Jason Cairnduff/Action Images
to take second place. It was the first lock-out by the team since
                                                                     For an insight into the player who blocks his way to a fifth
the start of the season, in the first two races.
                                                                     grand slam final, Andy Murray need do no more than turn to his
    Button finished ahead of Felipe Massa, who out-qualified
                                                                     coach, Ivan Lendl, who knows Tomas Berdych probably as well
his Ferrari team-mate Fernando Alonso for the first time this
                                                                     as he knows the Scot.
years. For the third time in three races a Red Bull missed out
                                                                         “I know the guy who is responsible for the success of Czech
on getting into Q3 and for the second time the car in question
                                                                     tennis [Miroslav Cernosek], who manages him,” Lendl says
belonged to Mark Webber.
                                                                     before heading for the practice courts with Murray ahead of
    It was also a disappointing afternoon for Ferrari in front
                                                                     Saturday’s semi-final at Flushing Meadows.
of their own fans. Alonso and Massa had been working on
                                                                         “I go to their centre in Projektov in the Czech Republic. They
slipstreaming in the morning practice. It worked out for Massa,
                                                                     have courts, fitness, massages, rehab and I love being there, so
who came third, his best grid position of the year, but Alonso,
                                                                     I’ve followed him for quite a bit now – and he’s getting better.
the world championship leader, finished last of the top-10
                                                                     I talk to him in the locker room, Andy played him in Monte
shoot-out. “He had a problem,” said Massa.
                                                                     Carlo.”
    It was all smiles in the McLaren camp, however. Hamilton,
                                                                         He lost that match, and three others in six meetings with the
with his fourth pole of the season and the 23rd of his career,
                                                                     moody, brittle and sometimes brilliant Berdych. That was on
said: “I didn’t have any distractions this weekend.” But then he
                                                                     clay – as was Murray’s defeat to him in Paris. On hard courts, it
added: “It’s been a tough weekend.
                                                                     is a slightly different story, but no less of a mountain, as Murray
    “We managed to work on setup. Congratulations to the
                                                                     acknowledges.
team. It was a great effort. I managed to get a half decent lap
                                                                         Lendl will not allow him to either ramp this match up
early in Q3 so I’m pretty happy. It’s great for team to have
                                                                     beyond its significance or ignore its dangers. “It’s a semi-final,”
Jenson up front, too.
                                                                     he said. “We didn’t come here for semi-finals.”
    “The support from my family and friends have been
                                                                         What is intriguing about the relationship between Murray
incredible. I’ve just been enjoying weekend. It’s been great so
                                                                     and Lendl is how they respect each other’s space, maintaining
far.”
                                                                     the delicate balance between employee and employer, the
    Button said: “First of all, it’s fantastic for the team for us
                                                                     player who is yet to fulfil his potential and the coach who won
both to be on the front row. The last few races have shown the
                                                                     eight grand slam titles. It says much about their canniness that,
strength of the team so to qualify at the front at Monza is great
                                                                     in the 10 months they have been together they have not had
— I don’t think any other team has managed to do that this
                                                                     a single significant argument, and that is not always the case
season. Being on the front row here doesn’t mean it’s going to
                                                                     in tennis.
be easy.”
                                                                         Lendl’s relationship with the media – never a love affair
    Paul di Resta made it three British drivers in the top four by
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                                        guardian.co.uk
Page  G24 Sport                                                                 Saturday September 8 2012                14:45 GMT

when he was a player – is another matter; his priority is Murray       to win. He came up with incredible tennis. I have never seen
and, if that means inconveniencing a few journalists, or failing       him play that well. This is tennis.”
to deliver on their expectations, he is not particularly bothered.
“If you want to get along with me,” he said at the start of the
tournament, “don’t ask me questions that make headlines. I’m           Paralympics 2012: David Stone scares
not interested in headlines.”                                          himself into keeping cycling title
    For instance, he is quick to put Murray’s win over Roger
Federer in the Olympics in perspective, because he suspects
some commentators underestimate the significance of the
                                                                       • David Stone wins trike road race to keep
achievement.                                                           Britain top
    “Put it this way: outside of Wimbledon, because he is British,     • Rivals improve to limit Britain to eight
if you gave me a choice, should we win Olympics or the French,         cycling titles
US or Australian Opens, I would have said Olympics without
                                                                       Peter Walker at Brands Hatch
thinking.
    “I don’t think you guys have seen the full significance of the
Olympics. They may not be as established in the tennis public’s
mind [as the majors] but I think this will change very quickly
now that Andy and Rafa [Nadal] have won the last two. Before
it was a bit different, maybe because the top guys didn’t win,
but you get a top guy winning in Rio and it will be right up there
with everything else.”
    Murray is more relaxed about his role as sports commodity,
whatever the angst that occasionally envelops him on court,
most pointedly in a three-hour struggle against Marin Cilic in
the quarter-finals.
    Asked if he had met Pippa Middleton, who has been a
prominent guest here, he said no, adding: “I’ve never really
mixed with celebrities. But it’s nice to meet people that you          David Stone, left, closes on victory in the trike race at the
watch in films, or athletes. I enjoy meeting athletes because I        London Paralymics. Photograph: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
have a lot to talk to them about. I like asking questions about
                                                                       Still beaded with sweat from the titanic exertion of successfully
different sports and their training and what they do. Over
                                                                       defending his Paralympic title, David Stone was clear about
the past few years, tennis has become pretty attractive to
                                                                       the differences between 2008 and 2012. “Compared to
celebrities.”
                                                                       Beijing the competition is so much better now,” he said. “It’s
    And that is where he finds himself again, in the glare of the
                                                                       good – it pushes me. But I also hate it. I was so scared today,
media, staring down the barrel at Berdych, who is staring right
                                                                       beforehand.”
back. To imagine the boy from Dunblane does not enjoy this
                                                                          Stone’s medal in the trike road race for T1 and T2 athletes,
experience is to misread him entirely.
                                                                       whose disability makes it hard for them to balance a bike, was
    He has become not just a wonderful tennis player but a
                                                                       Britain’s 22nd overall in the Paralympic cycling disciplines,
performer, and nowhere was that more evident than in the
                                                                       against 20 in Beijing. But while the 2008 haul included an
Louis Armstrong Stadium against Cilic, when he performed
                                                                       amazing 17 golds, this was one of eight. Eight titles still puts GB
like a wet duck for an hour and a half until the stands filled to
                                                                       on top of the cycling medal table again, but the days of doing so
bursting for the latter stages, after fans wandered over from
                                                                       by an absurd margin are seemingly over.
Andy Roddick’s farewell match on the Arthur Ashe Court.
                                                                          Stone, 31, who took part in the 2000 Paralympics before
    When they go out on the main court on Saturday, he gets to
                                                                       giving up the sport for several years to, among other things,
choose his walk-on music but, interestingly, he has declined to
                                                                       travel to India, resumed his career in time to win two gold
do so. “It’s actually better if they’re playing songs you don’t like
                                                                       medals in 2008. In London he had to make do with a bronze in
because then you don’t focus on it that much,” he says.
                                                                       the time trial before Saturday’syesterday’s gold.
    Murray absolutely thrives on pressure. He has played the
                                                                          Stone worked so hard to edge ahead of Italy’s Giorgio Farroni
game since he was 10 years old and coming to the last weekend
                                                                       on the final lap that even with an eventual winning margin of
of a slam at 25 is what motivates him. Berdych is his immediate
                                                                       seven seconds he did not dare celebrate on the line, or even
challenge and he should be equal to it, perhaps in four tough
                                                                       glance behind. “I made my move on the climb along the back
sets.
                                                                       but he stayed with me,” Stone said. “I attacked again on the
    And not for a moment will Murray be thinking about the
                                                                       next bit and he stayed with me. Then down the hill round the
final. The game, the tournament and the opponents are too
                                                                       right-hand bend I got ahead, but it was so hard. Even to the last,
volatile a mix to accommodate easy assumptions.
                                                                       because he’s so strong, I thought he was going to come back.”
    As Novak Djokovic said after getting through his own tough
                                                                          Even with the cheers on the home straight, Stone said,
quarter-final: “You have Murray, Berdych, Ferrer, myself, we’re
                                                                       his main feeling was that he “wanted to be in bed”, such was
all top 10 players. Maybe for some people it was surprising to
                                                                       the pain in his legs. Stone continued: “It wasn’t easy. I was so
see Roger lose because he’s been so consistent and dominant in
                                                                       disappointed not winning in the time trial. But it also shows
the last couple of years. He’s always expected to get to at least
                                                                       how much stronger the competition is. It makes it much more
the semi-finals of every grand slam. But look, Berdych deserved
                                                                       of a sport. I’ve never trained so hard as I have this year.”
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                                          guardian.co.uk
Page 4 G24 Sport                                                               Saturday September 8 2012                14:45 GMT

    His efforts mean the streets of Horsforth, Leeds, will get
another gold postbox to match that already repainted for
Olympic triathlon champion Alistair Brownlee.
                                                                      England’s Laura Marsh leads revenge
    The only other of the day’s four races featuring British          mission against West Indies women
interest ended in yet more disappointment for Lora Turnham,
the 24-year-old Paralympics newcomer who races in the                 • West Indies 71-8 England 72-2
tandem class with her sighted pilot, Fiona Duncan. The duo            • England win by 8 wickets
took two agonising fourth places in the velodrome before a
mechanical mishap in the road time trial cost them what looked        Andy Wilson at Emirates ICG
to be a likely gold. After being forced several times to catch up a
pack chasing the bronze medal in the tandem road race, the pair
eventually came in eighth. Canada’s Robbi Weldon and her pilot
Lyne Bessette won gold by 33secs while Ireland’s Katie Dunlevy
and her pilot Sandra Fitzgerald were fifth and Catherine Walsh
and her pilot Francine Meehan ninth.
    Turnham and Duncan’s bad luck in the time trial was one
of several incidents which cost British cyclists likely medals.
Another tandem duo, Anthony Kappes and Craig MacLean,
were unable to even race in the track time trial after their
two permitted starts were both derailed by chain problems.
Admittedly, another British pairing, Neil Fachie and Barney
Storey, took that gold, but pre-Paralympics form suggested it
should have been a GB one-two.                                        England’s Sarah Taylor hits out during the Women’s World
    More dramatically still, Jody Cundy was denied the usual          Twenty20 match against West Indies. Photograph: Stu
restart in his track time trial after officials deemed a wheel        Forster/Getty Images
slip was the rider’s fault rather than that of a stuck start gate.
                                                                      England extended their record winning run in this form of the
Cundy raged, and with reason – his pre-Games times made him
                                                                      game to 16 matches by brushing aside a disappointing West
overwhelming favourite for the title.
                                                                      Indies challenge with scarcely a contribution from Sarah Taylor,
    There were also events where anticipated golds failed to
                                                                      the wicketkeeper-batsman who has been tipped by her captain
arrive to due unexpectedly strong opposition: Aileen McGlynn
                                                                      Charlotte Edwards to lead their bid to reclaim the world title in
and Helen Scott were crushed to lose their tandem track time
                                                                      Sri Lanka in the next few weeks.
trial crown to Australia, while the team sprint squad were
                                                                          Taylor’s much-anticipated individual showdown with her
outmuscled by a stronger China lineup.
                                                                      namesake Stafanie, the hard-hitting Jamaican all-rounder who
    There have, nonetheless, been unexpected positives, not
                                                                      is the star of the West Indies team, has been delayed until the
least the gold and two silver medals earned by Wales’s Mark
                                                                      later stages of this five-match series, as she has been given
Colbourne, competing in his first Games, aged 42 and just three
                                                                      permission to stay at home for a few extra days to finish some
years after the paragliding accident he initially believed would
                                                                      exams.
mean he would never walk again.
                                                                          England’s Taylor kept tidily, and claimed one sharp
    Then, of course, there is Sarah Storey. A full 20 years after
                                                                      stumping that her Sussex colleague Matt Prior could not have
making her Paralympic debut as a teenage swimmer, she
                                                                      bettered. But by the time she came in to bat, England needed
was one of the most dominant performers in any event this
                                                                      only 13 to win, after Laura Marsh had dominated an opening
summer, Olympic or Paralympic.
                                                                      stand of 59 inside seven overs with Edwards – and the 23-year-
    It was not just the four golds from four events but the
                                                                      old fell cheaply and tamely, chipping a catch to mid-off.
increasingly dominant manner in which they were achieved,
                                                                          Edwards sealed the win with more than half of the innings
capped by a triumph in the women’s C4-5 road race by an
                                                                      remaining, ending unbeaten on 27 from 26 balls. “I haven’t been
almost absurd seven and a half minutes.
                                                                      in good touch all summer, so it’s really nice to contribute,” she
                                                                      said, having also claimed a run-out with a direct hit from short




  *
                                                                      fine-leg that was typical of an energetic and efficient England
                                                                      fielding performance.
                                                                          West Indies were 7 for 3 after only 10 balls of their innings,
                                                                      and four of those runs had come from overthrows. Katherine
                                                                      Blunt claimed two lbw victims in the first over as she swung the
  From Beirut to Big Brother, Murdoch to
                                                                      white ball, and Anya Shrubsole added a third in the second, the
  Millionaire,
                                                                      dangerous Deandra Dottin becoming the third member of the
  discuss the hot topics in the media on                              tourists’ top four to fall for a duck.
  not one, but two blogs Organ Grinder and                                Those wickets laid the foundations for England’s spinners to
  Greenslade                                                          keep things tight for most of the rest of the innings, as the West
  blogs.guardian.co.uk/organgrinder/                                  Indies struggled to pierce the infield. Marsh, a 25-year-old from
  blogs.guardian.co.uk/greenslade/                                    Kent, claimed one for 11 from her four overs, and Danielle Wyatt
                                                                      was only slightly more expensive in four more overs of off-spin.
                                                                      But the most eyecatching figures came from Holly Colvin who
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                                        guardian.co.uk
Page 5 G24 Sport                                                                Saturday September 8 2012                14:45 GMT

conceded only five runs from her spell, second only to Isa Guha        I have never heard somebody saying we are against reducing
as the most economical Twenty20 performance for England.               costs. I’m sure if we make sensible proposals then everybody
    Marsh then timed the ball beautifully in making 31 from 22         will be happy with that.”
balls with five boundaries – two more than the West Indies had
managed between them. It was satisfying revenge for England
after a shock defeat against the same opposition had dumped            What have we learned from the
them out of the last world t20 tournament before the semi-             Paralympic Games?
final stage two years ago, although not a great advert for the
competitive depth of the women’s game.
    “I don’t think we can get much better,” said Edwards.
                                                                       Questions on diversity, dominence and
“That’s how we want to play our Twenty20 cricket.” Her                 dressage answered
problem may be maintaining those standards for four more               Owen Gibson
matches against West Indies, the next of them at Old Trafford
on Monday as part of another double header, before they face
far stiffer tests against Australia and India in their quest to make
amends for the bitter disappointment of two years ago.



F1 is too expensive and could lose
teams, says FIA president Jean Todt

• F1 must cut costs by 30%, head of
governing body says
• ‘We must reduce costs in order to keep
everybody on board’
                                                                       Gold medallist Natasha Baker, centre, has been part of a hugely
Press Association                                                      successful dressage team for ParalympicsGB. Photograph:
                                                                       Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
                                                                       Why is the US comparatively poor at the
                                                                       Paralympics?
                                                                           It is not as though America ignores the Paralympics – it sends
                                                                       a large team and competes effectively in the pool, on the track
                                                                       and in sports such as wheelchair rugby. But sitting sixth in the
                                                                       medal table, as the US does as the Paralympics, is not a situation
                                                                       that would be countenanced in Olympic sport. There has been
                                                                       much debate around the lack of coverage in the US media and
                                                                       lack of profile for its Paralympic stars. That translates into a
                                                                       comparative lack of investment in the Paralympic team and
                                                                       talent ID and development. As they have faced the media after
                                                                       their races, athlete after athlete has expressed their hope that
Jean Todt of the FIA with his wife, Michelle Yeoh, in the              London will provoke a sea change in the attitude of the media
paddock following practice for F1’s Italian Grand Prix at              and sponsors. Certainly, the charisma and talent of the likes of
Monza. Photograph: Clive Mason/Getty Images                            US sprinters Richard Browne and Jerome Singleton deserves to.
Jean Todt, the president of motor sport’s governing body, fears        Why is Ukraine so good?
Formula One will be unsustainable if costs are not cut by 30%              It’s not a new phenomenon. Ukraine has punched above
over the next three years.                                             its weight at the Paralympics since Athens in 2004. Valeriy
   Despite a trio of major manufacturers – Honda, Toyota and           Sushkevych, a disabled former swimmer turned politician, is
BMW – leaving the sport, F1 teams have been unable to reach            credited as the architect of its success – arguing for a separate
a compromise on spending limits, with Red Bull coming out              budget for Paralympic sport.
publicly against it.                                                       Ukraine established a national Paralympic centre in 2002 and
   “Formula One is too expensive,” Todt said. “It’s up to the          Sushkevych remains president of the Paralympic Committee.
teams to work with our people and the commercial rights                That investment, which also manifests itself in huge bonuses
holder [Bernie Ecclestone]. We need to agree what to do,               that will amount to £1m if its cerebral palsy seven-a-side
otherwise it will be unsustainable.”                                   football team retain their title in London, helped the country to
   The FIA president believes that if costs are not cut then it        sixth in the medal table in Athens and fourth in Beijing.
could sound the death knell for the smaller teams, particularly
                                                                       Why does the British Paralympic team appear less
with new engine regulations due to come into force from
                                                                       diverse than its Olympic counterpart Team GB?
2014. Todt added: “We must reduce the costs in order to keep
                                                                          Neither the British Olympic Association nor the British
everybody on board. I prefer to present it like that.
                                                                       Paralympic Association compile statistics on the demographics
   “It’s everybody’s responsibility. We all need to share it, but
                                                                       or ethnicity of its teams. But analysis by the Guardian’s Data
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                                        guardian.co.uk
Page  G24 Sport                                                              Saturday September 8 2012                14:45 GMT

Blog suggests that the proportion of black and ethnic minority       Final11:48 Men’s 100m — T11 Semi-finals12:26 Men’s 4x400m
athletes on the 300-strong Paralympic team is around 6%.             Relay — T53/T54 Round 119:00 Women’s 100m — T54 Final19:05
That is marginally under the national average of 8%, according       Men’s Javelin Throw — F57/58 Final19:06 Women’s 100m — T36
to the 2001 census. It is only on the track that the contrast        Final19:10 Men’s High Jump — F46 Final19:12 Men’s 800m
with the Olympics is noticeable – and that is partly because         — T13 Final19:30 Men’s 100m — T37 Final19:40 Women’s Shot
in non-disabled track and field competition, BME athletes are        Put — F40 Final19:48 Men’s 100m — T11 Final20:00 Men’s 100m
over-represented compared to the wider population. There             — T34 Final20:12 Women’s 400m — T46 Final20:18 Men’s 200m
are various theories as to why that might be, but the most           — T12 Final20:30 Men’s 800m — T46 Final20:51 Men’s 400m
persuasive is that many athletics clubs have long-standing links     — T11 Final21:09 Men’s 200m — T52 Final21:27 Women’s 400m
with urban communities in which they are based and better-           — T53 Final21:45 Men’s 4x400m Relay — T53/T54 Final22:04
developed talent ID schemes. The route into disabled sport           Men’s 400m — T44 Final
tends to be different.                                               Boccia
Why is Britain so good at dressage?                                    09:00 Mixed Individual — BC1 Finals09:00 Mixed Individual
   Britain dominated the podium in Greenwich Park, finishing         — BC3 Finals10:35 Mixed Individual — BC4 Finals10:35 Mixed
top of the medal count with 11, including seven golds. It also       Individual — BC2 Finals13:25 Mixed Individual — BC1 Finals14:55
delivered some of the standout memories of the Paralympics,          Mixed Individual — BC2 Finals16:25 Mixed Individual — BC3
with Sophie Christiansen leading the way with three golds.           Finals18:10 Mixed Individual — BC4 Finals
Britain’s dominance over recent years is personified by dressage     Road cycling
rider Lee Pearson, who added a medal of each colour to his              10:30 Women’s Individual B road race10:32 Mixed T 1-2 Road
existing haul of nine golds and must take some of the credit for     Race14:30 Men’s Individual B Road Race17:45 Mixed H 1-4 Team
encouraging others to follow in his wake.                            Relay
   Another big part of the reason for success is the role of the
                                                                     5-a-side football
national charity Riding for the Disabled. Many of Britain’s
                                                                        09:00 Classification 7-8 tbc11:00 Classification 5-6 tbc13:30
Paralympic medallists started riding at their local Riding for the
                                                                     Bronze Medal Match tbc15:30 Gold Medal Match tbc
Disabled Centres, and it has a developed talent pathway to feed
riders to the British Equestrian Foundation, which is also one of    Swimming
the most enlightened and integrated governing bodies when it            09:30 Men’s 100m Breaststroke — SB9 Heats09:40 Women’s
comes to for developing talent.                                      100m Breaststroke — SB9 Heats09:50 Men’s 100m Freestyle
   Performance manager David Hunter has expressed hopes              — S6 Heats09:57 Women’s 100m Freestyle — S6 Heats10:08
that the display in London will inspire yet more riders into the     Men’s 100m Breaststroke — SB12 Heats10:15 Women’s 100m
sport. But, as elsewhere in Paralympic sport, he has warned that     Breaststroke — SB12 Heats10:23 Men’s 100m Freestyle
rival nations are catching up fast.                                  — S5 Heats10:30 Women’s 100m Freestyle — S5 Heats10:41
                                                                     Men’s 100m Breaststroke — SB13 Heats10:51 Women’s 100m
                                                                     Breaststroke — SB13 Heats10:59 Men’s 200m Individual Medley
Paralympics 2012: 8 September                                        — SM11 Heats11:14 Women’s 200m Individual Medley — SM11
                                                                     Heats11:26 Men’s 200m Freestyle — S4 Heats11:39 Men’s 50m
schedule                                                             Backstroke — S3 Heats11:51 Men’s 4x100m Medley Relay — 34
                                                                     Points Heats17:30 Men’s 100m Breaststroke — SB9 Final17:36
Your guide to what’s on at the London 2012                           Women’s 100m Breaststroke — SB9 Final17:42 Men’s 100m
Paralympics                                                          Freestyle — S6 Final17:47 Women’s 100m Freestyle — S6
                                                                     Final18:08 Men’s 100m Breaststroke — SB12 Final18:13 Women’s
Day ten: 8 September                                                 100m Breaststroke — SB12 Final18:35 Men’s 100m Freestyle — S5
    The competition has been whittled down and today sees the
                                                                     Final18:41 Women’s 100m Freestyle — S5 Final19:03 Men’s 100m
final of the five-a-side football tournament (3.30pm). Brazil won
                                                                     Breaststroke — SB13 Final19:09 Women’s 100m Breaststroke
in 2004 and 2008 so are odds-on favourites to retain their title,
                                                                     — SB13 Final19:31 Men’s 200m Individual Medley — SM11
but they face an inevitable challenge from Spain, Argentina
                                                                     Final19:38 Women’s 200m Individual Medley — SM11 Final20:02
and the David Clarke-inspired Great Britain. There is a feast of
                                                                     Men’s 200m Freestyle — S4 Final20:10 Men’s 50m Backstroke
finals today with Peter “The Quadfather” Norfolk fancied to
                                                                     — S3 Final20:32 Men’s 4x100m Medley Relay — 34 Points Final
reach the mixed quad singles wheelchair tennis final (12pm),
Ellie Simmonds in the 100m S6 freestyle (heats 9.57am, final
                                                                     Table tennis
                                                                        10:00 Women’s Team — Class 6-10 Finals12:30 Men’s Team
5.47pm), Nathan Stephens on javelin duty (7.05pm) and Oscar
                                                                     — Class 4-5 Finals16:30 Women’s Team — Class 4-5 Finals19:00
Pistorius racing in the T44 400m final (10.04pm). The men’s
                                                                     Men’s Team — Class 9-10 Finals
wheelchair basketball final (9.15pm) and bronze medal (7pm)
matches are also today.                                              Sitting volleyball
                                                                        14:00 Men’s Finals 316:00 Men’s Finals 218:00 Men’s Finals 1
Athletics
   10:00 Men’s 100m — T37 Round 110:05 Women’s Shot Put              Wheelchair basketball
— F57/58 Final10:10 Men’s Triple Jump — F12 Final10:15 Men’s            13:00 Men’s Classification 7/8 tbc15:15 Men’s Classification
Javelin Throw — F54/55/56 Final10:18 Women’s 100m — T36              5/6 tbc19:00 Men’s Final Bronze tbc21:15 Men’s Final Gold tbc
Round 110:36 Men’s 200m — T52 Round 110:40 Women’s Javelin
Throw — F37/38 Final10:54 Women’s 400m — T46 Round 111:06
Men’s 100m — T34 Round 111:18 Women’s 100m — T54 Round
111:36 Men’s 200m — T38 Final11:42 Women’s 400m — T37
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                                       guardian.co.uk
Page  G24 Sport                                                             Saturday September 8 2012                14:45 GMT

Wheelchair fencing                                                  Contender: David Smith, BC1 Boccia, 9am/1.25pm
   11:00 Men’s Team — Category Open Quarter-finals13:00                The 23-year-old has won national, European, world and
Men’s Team — Category Open Semi-finals15:00 Men’s Team              Paralympic titles and was part of the winning team in Beijing.
— Category Open Finals18:00 Men’s Team — Category Open              Smith made his GB debut aged only 14 and is currently the
Finals                                                              world No2. Says his fiancée will refuse to marry him unless he
Wheelchair rugby                                                    wins gold.
   14:00 Mixed Semi-finals19:00 Mixed Finals
Wheelchair tennis
   12:00 Men’s Singles Gold medal match12:00 Men’s Singles
                                                                    US Open 2012: Women’s tennis is too
Bronze medal match12:00 Women’s Doubles Gold medal                  loud — and there’s not enough of it
match12:00 Mixed Quad Singles Gold medal match
                                                                    Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka
                                                                    shrieking their way through US Open 2012.
London 2012 Paralympic Games: 8                                     But another two sets would have been
September schedule                                                  intriguing
                                                                    Kevin Mitchell at Flushing Meadows
Sitting volleyball, wheelchair basketball and
five-a-side football are all in action on day 10




                                                                    Victoria Azarenka kisses instead of shrieking to the crowd
                                                                    after her victory over Maria Sharapova in the US Open 2012
Team GB’s David Smith, Nigel Murray, Dan Bentley and Zoe            semi-final. Photograph: Charles Krupa/AP
Robinson celebrate winning gold in 2008. Photograph: Dan
                                                                    Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka are unwittingly,
Chung for the Guardian
                                                                    perhaps, damaging women’s tennis with their dreadful,
Sitting volleyball: 6pm ExCeL                                       premeditated caterwauling. This is hardly an original thought
    Over the past four years an intense rivalry has been building   but it needs repeating, like their screeching, over and over
between the men’s teams from Iran, the defending world and          again.
Paralympic champions, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, defeated              To listen to them in yesterday’s first semi-final at Flushing
finalists in both tournaments. Iran are the overwhelming            Meadows was to survive the tennis equivalent of water-
favourites and are looking for their sixth gold in seven Games      boarding. Sooner or later (or maybe already) people will stop
– the one time they lost a final, in Athens eight years ago, the    coming to watch this peculiar self-indulgence. Some already
Bosnians, somewhat inevitably, triumphed.                           have. A few fans here left their expensive seats early, and those
Wheelchair basketball: 9.15pm Basketball Arena                      who stayed were noticeably mute, mesmerised by the noise
   The British team are European champions and currently            rather than the tennis, which resulted in a weird atmosphere of
ranked second in the world, so have high hopes of a podium          ear-bashing on court and stupified silence in the stands.
finish going into the tournament, but “the Rollers”, AKA                Azarenka even screamed after losing a point. I wonder if they
Australia – world champions in 2010 and Olympic champions           practise this? Do they do it at home? Have they ever sat through
two years earlier – will be the team to beat. Today the top eight   someone else’s screaming? Would they like it if we did it to
teams will be put into order, with the bronze final at 7pm and      them? Do they give a flying monkey’s?
the gold medal match at 9.15pm.                                         Sharapova won the first set 115 grunts to 94, and six games to
Five-a-side football: 3.30pm Riverbank Arena                        three. It was unbearable. On both counts.
   It will surprise no one to learn that the overwhelming               It probably doesn’t do to get a fixation about this, but
favourites are Brazil whose silky ball skills have taken them to    the aural assault in women’s tennis is impossible to ignore
both gold medals since the event’s introduction in 2004. Their      – especially when someone working for the host broadcaster
main rivals will be Argentina, silver medallists at Athens and      goes to the trouble of counting the shrieks of two such high-
third four years later, and Spain, looking for another trophy to    profile offenders. Revealingly, CBS showed tape of both women
underline their dominance of the game. China, runners-up in         warming up – and there wasn’t a peep out of either of them. So,
2008, are the dark horses.                                          if they can hit the ball without screaming, why do they do it?
                                                                        One theory is they have been conditioned to do so from a
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                                     guardian.co.uk
Page  G24 Sport                                                                 Saturday September 8 2012                 14:45 GMT

young age so they give full expression to their shot-making.               The 30-year-old American, probably as fit and strong as at
   The Women’s Tennis Association have asked juniors to try            any time in her distinguished career, crushed the 25-year-old
to control their grunting and screaming, but have made no such         Italian 6-1, 6-2 in just 64 minutes, fulfilling the foreboding
effort to do so where most of us can hear it, on the Tour. Who         that was attached to the second semi-final on the Arthur Ashe
would dare ask the darling of the game, Sharapova, to tone it          Court. At 5ft 5in, the elfin-faced Errani could not more perfectly
down when she generates such big numbers for TV, sponsors              have looked the underdog had she arrived on court carrying a
and tournament organisers?                                             building.
   Anyway, she might not even be listening . . .                           As good a player as Azarenka is, Williams should have too
Another set please?                                                   much for her on Saturday night on the way to winning the title
   If ever there was a counter-argument to John McEnroe’s              for the fourth time.
call for women to play five sets if they want to earn the same             There is much to admire about Sharapova and Azarenka – if
prizemoney as the men in slams, it was played out on Arthur            you’re deaf. Fish wives on gin cannot have made such a racket
Ashe Court yesterday.                                                  in the worst Hogarthian nightmare. So intrusive has their
   The first semi-final went two hours and 42 minutes. The             screaming become that, any time they meet, the sport they play
second semi-final went 64 minutes. Had Serena Williams                 because they supposedly love it morphs from tennis into one
been asked to continue her slaughter of Sara Errani, the               long, existential cry for help. Azarenka – who lives in the desert
embarrassment would have been excruciating.                            in Scottsdale, Arizona – is looking for a place to live in New York
   There are still way too many bagels and 6-1 scores deep into        City, probably because it’s the loudest city in the world.
major tournaments and it is often only the best players who can            The shame is this was quite a fight. It started with
give each other a proper fight.                                        metronomic predictability as the Belarusian struggled to find
   While it would have been intriguing to see Maria Sharapova          a rhythm. In fact, so out of the dance was she that the good
and Victoria Azarenka carry on to decide it over five sets, I’m        money was on Sharapova strolling through to her first final
pretty sure Errani wanted to get out of there when she did.            here since winning the title in 2006. She had not lost a three-set
                                                                       match all year. She wasn’t happy.
                                                                           “It took me a while,” Azarenka said. “I knew I had to give it
Victoria Azarenka to face Serena                                       my all. It’s my first final here. I want to play it right now, I’m so
                                                                       excited.”
Williams in US Open final                                                  The fourth and fifth games of the third set were the heart
                                                                       and soul of the contest, each player having three break
• Williams beats Sara Errani 6-1, 6-2 in semi-                         points, each defying the odds in a monumental battle of wills.
final                                                                  Sharapova held after 10 minutes with her sixth of eight aces.
• Azarenka overcomes Maria Sharapova                                   Azarenka held when Sharapova hit long, a microcosm of the
                                                                       match and, it turned out, the ending.
3-6, 6-2, 6-4
                                                                           Azarenka was the first to a match point, at 5-4, as
Kevin Mitchell at Flushing Meadows                                     Sharapova’s serve, as reliable as a New York cellphone, betrayed
                                                                       her. She saved one point, but, run ragged across the baseline,
                                                                       offered her opponent another. It was all Azarenka needed,
                                                                       Sharapova shoving a tired right arm through a forehand from
                                                                       deep that floated long.
                                                                           Their handshake at the net was perfunctory. They are not the
                                                                       closest of friends and do not meet socially. Which is just as well.
                                                                       “Girlfriend!! Aaargh!!”
                                                                           Once the din had died, Williams went about her quiet
                                                                       dismantling of Errani, who could not find the tricks that won
                                                                       her a place in the French Open final against Sharapova. Her
                                                                       almost pianissimo yelps of “heh” came as balm after the rock-
                                                                       concert ruckus that had gone before.
                                                                           The noise that lingered longest was the ping of the strings
                                                                       from Williams’s racket as she beat Errani up on both wings, and
Victoria Azarenka blows kisses to the crowd after her win over
                                                                       rarely has she been so scarily dominant. Even though she got
Maria Sharapova in their US Open semi-final. Photograph:
                                                                       fewer than half her first serves in the box in the first set, she
Charles Krupa/AP
                                                                       took the point 24 of 26 times overall. The ace she hit to win the
It wasn’t the prettiest semi-final of all time but it surely was one   match was her ninth, to go with 41 for the tournament and she
of the loudest. Maria Sharapova won the screaming contest but,         served at up to 119 miles an hour.
after two hours and 42 minutes of aural torture, the tennis went           Errani, who got this far in the tournament without striking
to Victoria Azarenka, who booked a place in her first US final,        a single ace, served 30 miles an hour below that. It was a mercy
against Serena Williams.                                               killing, only pity-filled applause breaking the silence.
    The world No1 bludgeoned the Russian into submission
to win 3-6, 6-2, 6-4, and you could probably have heard the
screech-exchange under a roaring jet four miles away at
LaGuardia airport. Williams’s win in straight sets over Sara
Errani shortly afterwards was a more decorous affair.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                                           guardian.co.uk
Page  G24 Sport                                                                Saturday September 8 2012                14:45 GMT

                                                                           “It would be nice to get Leeds after what they did to us in
                                                                       the [Challenge Cup] semi but whoever we play we need to be at
Wigan sweat on Michael McIlorum ban                                    100%,” Wane said. “We will be OK if we show the character and
after defeat to St Helens                                              some of the skill we produced today.”
                                                                           After ending a run of three consecutive defeats at the hands
• Wigan 18-26 St Helens                                                of their neighbours, Rush admitted his side’s victory sent out
                                                                       a message that they are determined to reach Old Trafford for a
Press Association
                                                                       seventh year in a row.
                                                                           “It’s about building some momentum going into the play-
                                                                       offs and ensuring we’ve got that mentality for play-off football
                                                                       because it is different,” he said.
                                                                           “We had to start upping the ante and I think we got better
                                                                       but there is still a bit to go yet.
                                                                           “I’m very proud of the players but we’re not going to get
                                                                       carried away. We’ve put a marker down that we are intent on
                                                                       getting to the Grand Final and winning it this time.”
                                                                           Wigan S Tomkins; Charnley, Goulding, Carmont, Richards;
                                                                       Finch, Leuluai; Fielden, McIlorum, Lima, Hansen, Hock,
                                                                       O’Loughlin.
                                                                           Interchange Mossop, Farrell, Dudson, Flower.
                                                                           Tries Leuluai, Richards, S Tomkins. Goals Richards 3.
Wigan’s Michael McIlorum is sent off by referee James Child                St Helens Wellens; Makinson, Shenton, J Jones, Meli;
after 15 minutes of his side’s Super League defeat to St Helens        Hohaia, Lomax; Perry, Roby, Laffranchi, Flanagan, Puletua,
Photograph: Craig Brough/Action Images                                 Wilkin.
                                                                           Interchange McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Greenwood, Clough,
Wigan will fight any threat to ban their hooker Michael
                                                                       Dixon.
McIlorum following his dismissal in Friday night’s 26-18 home
                                                                           Tries Roby, Makinson, Dixon, J Jones, Lomax. Goals
defeat by St Helens, according to the coach, Shaun Wane.
                                                                       Makinson 3.
    McIlorum was shown a red card by the referee James Child
                                                                           Referee James Child (Dewsbury) Attendance 21,522
for a late and high tackle on the St Helens prop Anthony
Laffranchi after just 15 minutes of the last match of the regular
Super League season and could miss the start of the Warriors’
play-off campaign through suspension.
                                                                       Paralympic gold medallist Sophie
    “I don’t think he got it right,” Wane said. “It looked like        Christensen: ‘It didn’t come easy’
Micky Mac was committed. He’s an important player and I want
him playing for me next week. We’ll go there and fight it if we        When Sophie Christiansen was born,
have to. We feel we have a strong case.
                                                                       premature and with cerebral palsy, she was
    “Leaving your team-mates in a massive game against
your arch rivals is like a suspension in itself. I don’t mind the
                                                                       not expected to survive. But now, at 24, she
sending-off if they are consistent through the year but I’ll take it   has just won three glorious gold medals at
on the chin.                                                           the Paralympics
    “I’d rather talk about the positive aspects about how we dug
                                                                       Simon Hattenstone
deep and showed some character with 12 men. I’m very proud
of the efforts of the players.”                                        Sophie Christiansen has just heard we want to take a photo of
    The St Helens coach, Mike Rush, said he did not have a clear       her. “Well I’m not looking very glamorous, am I?” She looks at
view of the incident but admitted it was a crucial decision. “It’s     Pippa, her publicist/helper/dresser/bodyguard. “You’ll have
always going to be a talking point or a turning point,” he said.       to help with my hair,” says the triple gold medal-winning
“They had to work a bit harder but they are still a very good          equestrian before manoeuvring herself into her diasability
side. They still threw an awful lot at us and we defended really       scooter and whizzing across the media lounge.
well.”                                                                    We’re at Team GB House, just across the road from the
    Wigan led 6-0 thanks to Thomas Leuluai’s 12th-minute try           Olympic park, where Britain’s medallists come to be feted. As it
but Saints took advantage of the dismissal of McIlorum to run          happens, her friend and fellow equestrian, Natasha Baker, is
in tries through James Roby and Tom Makinson to establish a            being interviewed about her second gold medal win. “Tash!”
12-6 interval lead.                                                    Christiansen shouts with delight, and starts singing along to
    Wigan drew level thanks to Pat Richards’ try early in the          Spandau Ballet’s Gold. The interviewer spots Christiansen.
second half but Saints got their second wind and clinched their        “And I do believe we have Sophie in the house,” he announces.
first derby win of the season with further tries from Andrew           A huge roar follows. Her face splits into a smile of pure joy.
Dixon, Josh Jones and Jonny Lomax.                                        Christiansen is still only 24, and she’s a five-time Paralympic
    The win secured a third-place finish for Saints for the second     gold medallist. “An old woman!” she says. Her story is
successive year and a trip to Warrington Wolves in the first           astonishing. She was born two months premature with cerebral
round of the play-offs while Wigan will host either Catalan            palsy. From a desperate start, things got worse. She had a fit and
Dragons or Leeds Rhinos next Friday.                                   then suffered from jaundice, blood poisoning, and a collapsed
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                                         guardian.co.uk
Page 10 G24 Sport                                                               Saturday September 8 2012                14:45 GMT

lung. Oh, and she had a heart attack. Few expected her to                 Are people with cerebral palsy stereotyped? “I think we
survive.                                                              used to be.” In what way? “That we’d just stay at home doing
    But she didn’t just survive, she thrived. By six she was riding   nothing. I still get it now.” She laughs, points her index finger
horses, and excelling at school. At 16 she won a bronze at the        to her head and makes a screw-loose motion. “Because of my
Athens Paralympics in the most disabled category of dressage.         speech people think I’m not all there. Some people come up and
In Beijing, at 20, she won two golds and a silver. And now she’s      start talking through my friend to me, and I am like, ‘Excuse
topped that.                                                          me, I am here.’ When they think I’m mentally disabled, I try
    Her body is floppy, her muscles spasm involuntarily, her          to drop in the conversation that I got a first-class masters degree
speech is slurred, and she is utterly lovely – funny, gobby,          in maths.”
brainy, heroic. She tells me about her background – her teacher           Was she always a mathematical genius? “I always liked
parents, younger brother Alex, how they grew up near Ascot.           maths! I wouldn’t call myself a genius. It didn’t come easy to
Ah, I say, so that explains the horses. “No. Pure coincidence. In     me. The key is I work very hard in everything I do.”
fact my mum is allergic to horses.” She pauses. “I just took it           Has she got a favourite equation? “Fermat’s theorem,” she
up to annoy her.” She creases up, laughing. Perhaps the most          answers instantly. “Xn + Yn = Zn. I like the story behind it.
miraculous thing is that, despite struggling so much to control       Fermat was a French mathematician from, I think, the 17th
her body, she has excelled in a sport that is all about perfect       century. You may have to check your facts on this. [She’s right,
control. “Yes, precision,” she says, precisely. Dressage is also      of course.] And he claimed to have proved the theorem. He
known as horse ballet – two-legged and four-legged partner            wrote it down in a book that he’d proved it, but no one could
walk and trot to music in perfect time and rhythm.                    actually find his proof, so for centuries mathematicians have
    How does she manage it? “Dressage comes from the French           been trying to prove it to see whether he actually did prove
‘dresser’, which means to train and that’s what it’s about;           it. Then a few years ago it was finally proven, by a guy named
training the horse. So we train my horse to do what he’s              Andrew Wiles.”
suppposed to do – no matter what I’m doing. Rio knows he just             As she explains, I’m staring at the three gold medals around
has to walk in the correct rhythm and stay relaxed. Sometimes         her neck. She looks magnificently bling – the Liz Taylor of the
due to my disability I do give the wrong signals, but he’s trained    Paralympics. What does it feel like to wear them all at once?
to almost ignore that.”                                               “Heavy,” she complains. “No, it’s the most amazing feeling
    Rio is better known as Janeiro. He has two names – a              ever. Normally I think I’m just me, I just do what I do. But when
formal competition name, and a nickname for intimates. In             everybody else acknowledges it, it comes back that I have
this Paralympics, the pair have improvised brilliantly with           achieved something special.”
the accompanying music – as well as Land of Hope and Glory                Isn’t it ridiculous winning three golds? Yes, she says, in a
and Pink Floyd, their routine included Big Ben’s chimes and a         way, but that was the target she set herself. “I knew my horse
quotation from Shakespeare. “I’m quite into my music. I go to a       was capable of it. It was just down to me to get it out of him.”
lot of gigs.” What’s her favourite piece in the routines? “Another    Who deserves the medal more, her or Rio? “Half and half. He
Brick in the Wall. It was quite ironic because I’ve got a master’s    has been the perfect partner for me. I couldn’t have wished for a
degree in maths.”                                                     better horse.”
    Why’s that ironic? “Because it’s: ‘We don’t need no                   But they had a tough start, and just being selected for
education.’ And I used it because I hope the Paralympics will         the Paralympics was a struggle. “Last year, my old horse
educate people in disability, and also inspire them to go out and     Rivaldo went lame the day before we were meant to go to the
achieve their dream, no matter how difficult it is.”                  Europeans. A couple of weeks later he got put down. I’d already
    At times, she says, it has been very difficult. Her parents       got Rio a couple of months before as my backup, but then I had
fought for her to go to a mainstream school with a special unit       to bring him on and form a partnership much quicker than I had
attached. They were absolutely right, too, she says. It gave her      intended to.”
the best of both worlds – support and the chance to integrate.            Even though she felt she was riding well, the results were
Still, integrating wasn’t easy. I tell her that when I was a child    disappointing. So she looked at the possible reasons. “And I
I went to a special school, and the able-bodied pupils were           think the main thing was that I was so desperate to get to the
horrible to those with cerebral palsy. She nods. “I think every       Paralympics, and my desperation was transferring through
kid goes through a bit of that, disabled or able-bodied.” A bit of    to Rio in competition. So I worked really hard with my
what? “A bit of what I suppose you’d call bullying.”                  psychologist.”
    But isn’t it different if the bullying is about your cerebral         And the work paid off. She says she has had the most
palsy?                                                                fantastic few weeks, and has never been involved in anything
    “Yes. But I didn’t get that much name-calling. Making             like this before – the crowds, the enthusiasm, the way disabled
friends was the most difficult thing for me. I was quite shy          people have been empowered and embraced.
because of my speech. Also at lunch I didn’t have much time to            What’s most surprising, I say, is that this has happened in
go out and play because it took me longer to eat. Until GCSEs I       a city where disabled people are virtually invisible because
didn’t have many friends.”                                            facilities for them are so poor.
    Going to Athens for the Paralympics in 2004 changed                   She nods, and looks at Pippa. “I’m not sure if I’m allowed
everything. She came back, she says, a different person.              to give my opinion on this, but I’m going to anyway. Public
“Because I won a bronze medal at such a young age I had to talk       transport has improved with the games because there were
to a lot of media, do a lot of interviews, and it really brought      so many volunteers around to put out ramps and stuff.” But
me out of myself. I had to become less self-conscious, and after      she says, normally, it’s nothing like this. “I’ve been stranded
that, at sixth form, I had a great friend.”                           by myself on a train many times with no one … even if I book

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                                        guardian.co.uk
Page 11 G24 Sport                                                     Saturday September 8 2012   14:45 GMT

it, which you have to do 24 hours in advance. So you can’t
be spontaneous. People are great, if they see you’re stuck
anywhere, they’ll come and help you.” But that’s people, not
systems, I say. “Yeah, yeah, I’m getting there! But access is
horrendous in London, and we’re meant to be the world leader
in everything. It’s rubbish.” If she were a politician, what would
she want to do for disabled people? “Well, the Paralympics has
improved London transport in terms of the number of helpers.
But in terms of actual physical access, they haven’t done
anything. I went to Vienna at New Year and their underground
system was amazing. The tube would come up, the platform
would level with the carriage and a little ramp would come out
of the carriage. It really put London to shame.”
    What does she think about the fact that we’re celebrating
disability, and yet at the same time the government is looking
to cut disability benefits? “From my point of view, I’ve got a job
now [as a statistician]. But getting that job was really difficult.
With my first-class masters degree, I wanted to get a high-flying
job in the City. And I went to loads of interviews and ended
up thinking, this isn’t going to work. Firstly, I wouldn’t be
able to live in London because of access, and secondly, the big
companies weren’t willing to give me a bit of extra help. For
example, I couldn’t go on a placement for a week in Edinburgh
because I needed to take a carer with me.”
    The thing is, she reckons, businesses would gain if they
employed more disabled people. “The general feeling among
the employees would be, ‘Well, if they can do it, we can too.’
So even if I might be slower to do the actual physical job, it
would motivate others to do their work.” So, other workers
would say, ‘Well if somebody disabled can make a good job of
it, so can I’? “Yes.” She giggles at her fabulously un-PC theory.
“Well that’s my opinion.” What does she think about the fact
that Atos, which sponsors the Paralympics, is also the company
the government has appointed to weed out disability claimant
fraudsters? Another knowing smile. “I don’t think I can answer
that! I don’t know a lot about that story.” Has she come across
such cheats? “No. I haven’t seen it.”
    Look, she says, the Paralympics have already changed so
much, and now it’s up to everybody to build on that. “I’m still
in a bit of a bubble. I don’t think it will hit me just how much
we’ve affected the nation until I get out of here.”
    One thing is for sure, though, she’s going to have plenty to
occupy her – the statistician job, training for her next dressage
championship, and now campaigning. As Pippa helps her on to
her scooter, Christiansen waves a hand at me – a farewell and a
promise.
    “I’ll be out talking to politicians about all this!”




guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                               guardian.co.uk

				
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