The International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS) opened the 10th IWAS World Junior Games with a simple ceremony in the sports hall of the Stoke Mandeville stadium that made strong historical connections between Stoke Mandeville’s past and the future sporting careers of the junior athletes present.
324 athletes from 31 countries will be taking part in the Games. The ceremony began with the Parade of Athletes in alphabetical order: Austria (3 athletes), Bulgaria (4), Canada (7), Czech Republic (18), Denmark (11), Estonia (4), Finland (7), Germany (14), Great Britain (39), Greece (8), Hong Kong (5), Hungary (1), India (2), Ireland (25), Italy (1), Kazakhstan (26), Kuwait (13) Lithuania (5), Netherlands (1), Nigeria (1), Norway (1), Russia (15), Saudi Arabia (12), Scotland (CP Sport) (2), Slovakia (1), South Africa (1), Sweden (6), Switzerland (5), Thailand (20), United Arab Emirates (28) and USA (38).
Following the national anthem the welcome address was given by Zahir Mohammed, Chairman of Buckinghamshire County Council. He was followed by a historic video ‘I am the flame’ tracing the history of disability and Paralympic sport at Stoke Mandeville. Paul DePace, President of IWAS, then gave a speech in which he requested three things of the athletes: i; do your best and learn one thing from this competition that will help you in your next, ii; accomplish one act of sportsmanship to help a fellow competitor and iii; make at least one new friend from another team as you will be competing against each other for years to come. The IWAS flag was then carried into the arena by Bob Patterson, Maura Strange, Sandy Breen and Val Kelly and raised. The oaths were then taken by Lauren Rowles (GBR on behalf of athletes), John Schoemaker (IPC Athletics ITO on behalf of judges) and Paul Odermatt (SWI on behalf of coaches) before Joe Barclay, High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire officially declared the Games open.
Source: IWAS news