Community News

Bob presents medals at Paralympics

bob-fisher

Story and picture by Community Reporter Johnny Dadds

Former boxer Bob Fisher has returned from two weeks in Brazil – presenting medals to winning athletes in the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

As a member of the Paralympic Order, Bob (69), was invited by the International Paralympic Committee to hand out medals in eight ceremonies, including the Women’s 100m, table tennis and football.

The lifelong Knowle West resident said he felt “privileged” to have had the opportunity to take part.

“To go to the opening and closing ceremonies and actually be involved is superb. I feel very honoured and grateful the opportunity was there.”

The games in Rio de Janeiro saw 159 countries and over 4,000 athletes competing in 22 sports – the second most attended Paralympics in history.

And Bob says his highlight was presenting the gold medal to Briton Georgina Hermitage – who set a world record by winning the Women’s T37 100m in 13.3 seconds.

He was made a recipient of the Paralympic Order in 2008 after spending over 30 years volunteering as an official at the games. He was also a member of the coaching team for Great Britain at the Paralympics in New York in 1984 and Seoul in 1988.

His involvement in sport began at Connaught Road School where he took up boxing, later competing in the sport professionally. Bob became a manager of Whitchurch Sports Centre and it was there he first started coaching disabled sports.

He says: “I’ve always appreciated the ability of people with disabilities. That’s why I’ve been involved over the years. People are astounded by the example they see.”

His work promoting football saw him hold the position of Chairperson for the Football 7-a-Side Committee of the Cerebral Palsy International Sports and Recreation Association (CPISRA).

Bob puts Britain’s success in Rio this year – coming second to China, with 147 medals – to the “generous funding for disabled sports that exists in Britain.”

He says: “The funding has made a complete difference to the quality of our athletes; they get the best training, they get the best of everything.”

And he hopes to make it to Tokyo in 2020 for what would be his tenth Paralympic Games, but concedes: “I’ll be a bit old by then so maybe I should let younger ones have a go.”