International Inspiration ambassador Oscar Pistorius meets young people from the International Inspiration programme outside the Olympic Stadium. From left to right: Erica Kouassi, Anthony Kipps, Oscar Pistorius, Mary Tarimo.(Image credit: London 2012)
Anthony writes about being one of three Young Leaders from London 2012’s International Inspiration programme selected to carry the Paralympic flame. Aged 14, he was chosen from nominations across the UK and 20 other countries because of his dedication and commitment to inspiring young people in his community through the power of sport.
As a young leader, I help organise and host youth festivals for over 100 schools in my community. My school in Maracas, Trinidad, just held their first International Paralympic Sports Day together with three other local schools.
As one of 60 young leaders in my schooI, I helped co-ordinate this festival and incorporated inclusive games into the day of events. One such game saw students play sport with either an arm or leg tied to their body to restrict their movement; giving them an insight into the obstacles disabled people overcome when playing sport.
I wanted to be a leader in sport because people of all abilities can be included and take part in recreational fun. Sports days can include that kind of fun, and it is something you can look back on positively.
Being a young leader has made me very happy that I can help other people. I can inspire people and they can look up to me. They can say, ‘if he can do it, so can I’. In the future, I will continue working on sports festivals and will try to include more and more people in events to make sure no-one is left out.
When I was in primary school, people used to tease me and it made me feel like hiding away. People try to show you up because they have all their limbs, and it makes you feel down. When I started all these activities through International Inspiration, the teasing stopped because people saw that I could do it too, so why would they make fun of me? We have shown others what it’s like to be disabled, and they now understand the barriers we face.
It was amazing to meet Oscar Pistorius. Like me, he has a disability to his legs, but he is an amazing athlete and it makes me think that I can be successful and that it’s good for me to keep trying new sports. He is someone who has gone out there and done it. At home in Trinidad, doing sports is very important and I like being part of that with International Inspiration.
I can’t explain what it was like to run with the torch! I was ecstatic, with everyone waving and cheering. Cold rain was falling from the sky and a cool breeze was blowing everywhere. We carried the torch through heavy rain, but it was so much fun and I enjoyed it very much.
Anthony was born with Right Primary Focal Femoral Dysplasia, which means his right leg has grown much shorter than his left, and has overcome a number of personal challenges to take part in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. While in London, he also got the chance to meet International Inspiration Ambassador and Paralympic gold medallist, Oscar Pistorius, who praised the group for reflecting the Paralympic values of courage, determination, inspiration and equality.
International Inspiration is bringing to life the promise made by the London 2012 bid team where they pledged to reach young people all around the world and connect them to the inspirational power of the Games so they are inspired to choose sport. The programme is delivered around the world by a unique partnership of organisations including the British Council, UNICEF UK and UK Sport.