Kristy Pond - The Full Story

Hi it's Kristy here. I have recently returned from competing in the London 2012 Paralympic Games and what a cool experience it was!

Friday 10th August was the beginning of my journey to London. From Sydney I flew to Melbourne for a couple of days before departing to Heathrow London. During the first leg to Singapore I was  lucky enough to have 3 seats to myself! We arrived in London for our next leg - a 3 hour bus trip to Cardiff Wales. This was our training base for 2 weeks before moving into the Paralympic Village.

Our accommodation was opposite Cardiff Castle and a great location. All training facilities were close by including a  gym and pool on site. The set up was excellent and included a games room which was great at the end of the day to be able to switch off from training. I had a go at table tennis but that is one sport I won't peruse - I was hopeless at it, often hitting the ball too hard and it didn't connect with the table!

My time in Cardiff was great and went too quickly. Yet I couldn't wait to experience the Village.

We travelled by bus and as you can imagine with all the equipment it took quite some organising to load us and everything on and off.

As we approached the village I noticed the huge big Westfield shopping centre that I had heard so much about - it was very new, having been built for the Paralympic and Olympic Games and easily accessible from the Athlete Village.

Australia was allocated the same blocks of units for the Paralympic and Olympic teams and I was in Seaside.

The Village didn't disappoint, it was like a little self contained city with everything available. Not that I went but there is also a hairdressers and our own official London 2012 shop which was so much easier than battling the huge crowds on the outside. The gym was fantastic including Kinesis which isn't in all gyms close to me at home.

On the third day of being in the Village was the Opening Ceremony. I was able to experience the parade of the Opening Ceremony and so glad I did. To participate in the whole ceremony takes about 6 hours as the countries have to marshall so early as it is such a big event . For athletes, like myself, competing in the first two days this can be a very exhausting process and some chose not to march at all. I completed the lap and then returned to the Village for an early night. I felt so proud to be there at the Opening Ceremony. Here I was representing Australia and at that moment I knew all my hard training and sacrifices had been worth it - to be here in the stadium for a Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony was something I will never forget.

My first event was the 100m and nothing could prepare me for the deafening noise of 80,000 screaming fans! That is about the same sized crowd that we get to our NRL Grand Final. I had competed internationally before but never before a crowd like this. I guess with experience athletes learn to block that tremendous noise out, but here I was and I finished with a time just outside my PB. I was happy with how it went for my first Paralympic experience and was interviewed by the ABC.

The 200m was 6 days later and at least I was more prepared for the deafening noise when on the track in the stadium. Every session was sold out and packed with 80,000 supporters. This time we were able to complete a slow lap around the track prior to pulling into our lanes.  No I didn't medal, but to be part of a Paralympic Games is an amazing memory, something I will never forget.

When my events concluded I was able to spend some time 'on the outside' with my family, we  visited the Warner Bros Studios where much of Harry Potter was filmed, we even got to Platform 9 and three quarters!  While in London I visited the Royal Mews where some of the Queens horses are kept and I enjoyed this very much.

Since returning home I have been kept busy catching up with friends and unfortunately returning to school work.

Everyone asks me if I'm going Rio in 2016, and I always mention I have to qualify first. To qualify for a Paralympic Games is a huge workload, but I loved doing it and who knows what will eventuate for Rio.  But one thing for sure is that I'll never quit trying!

Hope you enjoy the video and it inspires you to take up a challenge in life!