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Last Updated: Sunday, 19 September, 2004, 23:06 GMT 00:06 UK
Paralympic diary: Day three
By Elizabeth Hudson
BBC Sport in Athens

Monday is a big day for Afghanistan athlete Mareena Karim who makes her Paralympic debut.

The 14-year-old, one of only two women in her country's delegation, will compete in the heats of the T46 100m.

Getting to Athens has been an achievement for Karim, who lost both her feet as an infant after they were burned.

She has only been training properly for two months and lives in Kabul along with her 10 brothers and eight sisters.

"They are living in a ruined house," explained Afghanistan Paralympic Committee secretary-general Dr Abdul Baseer.

"They fled the front lines of a battle between the Northern Alliance and the Taliban in Kabisa. They have had to do some repairs but at least there is a roof over them."

One of the more memorable events during Sunday's athletics programme was the men's F11 long jump for blind athletes.

Technical precision on the board is a hard thing to master for able-bodied athletes but the athletes jumping on Sunday also had valuable help from their guides.

Some guides ran behind their athlete, others stood at the end of the runway and shouted instructions as they made their way towards them while a Cuban coach used a whistle to communicate his instructions.

The medallists all managed jumps well in excess of six metres.

The emotions all got too much for the Roberts family when swimmer David clinched a silver medal in the men's SM7 200m individual medley.

The 24-year-old from Swansea, who has cerebral palsy won seven medals - including three golds - in Athens and showed a superb return to form after having major surgery.

"My mother is somewhere up in the seating and she is crying like a baby," revealed her son.

Hopefully they were tears of joy and there could be more when Roberts goes in his main event, the 100m freestyle, on Monday.

Paralympians prepare for their events in many different ways.

This columnist found itself in a fish restaurant in Mikrolimano, near Pireas on Saturday night and was surprised to find Canadian wheelchair athlete Jeff Adams sitting at the next table.

Introductions were made and Adams, one of his country's most outspoken Paralympians, admitted he was happy to be out of the athletes' village - albeit temporarily - and looking forward to making amends after he crashed out of the Olympic demonstration race last month.

Maybe it was the fish which powered Adams into the second round of the men's T54 1500m on Sunday with a victory in his heat!

Paralympic Games 2004



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Paralympic diary: Day two
18 Sep 04  |  Paralympics

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