Anjali's Blog

Arrival in Beijing

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I arrived today in Beijing. Look for some email updates soon.

Kadena Training

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Sorry for the delay in posting... These past 10 days have truly flown by. I cannot tell you how grateful we all are to the folks here at Kadena Air Force Base for having us here. There is not a single complaint I can think of. We were fed extremely well, our rooms were excellent, we have become acclimated to the weather and timezone and most of all we have all made friends and connections with our sponsor families and many other individuals affiliated with the military.

Training has gone very well for me this week. It is always fun to get the opportunity to train with people who you don't see regularly. We held our relay selection trials, and I am excited to share that will be running in both the preliminary round and the final round of the women's 4x100m relay. I had the chance to explore some of Okinawa while I was here. Some highlights included bonding with my sponsor family and eating out at a marvelous mom-pop type fish restaurant, riding the ferris wheel that overlooks Okinawa, going up in a Cessna to see the entire island from 1000 feet up, seeing the whale-sharks at the aquarium, swimming in the ocean, teaching local middle school kids about what a racing wheelchair is and how it works and of course laughing and having fun with teammates.
island view

I cannot believe the day is here where I can officially say that I am going to Beijing tomorrow! I'm ready to get there and to begin competition. I cannot wait to share more news once I arrive in Beijing tomorrow. Until then, it's off to bed!

Internet & TV Coverage of the Paralympic Games!!!!!

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Press release from the IPC:
Bonn, Germany - Universal Sports, a multiplatform destination for amateur sports programming throughout the year which is co-owned by NBC Universal and InterMedia Partners, the Beijing 2008 Organizing Committee (BOCOG) and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) announced today an agreement to provide the first-ever multiplatform broadcast coverage of the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games, presented by GE in the United States.

The groundbreaking broadcast will premiere on 6 September on UniversalSports.com and 8 October on Universal Sports TV, followed by a special presentation of the events on NBC 18 October.Universal Sports TV broadcast of the 2008 Paralympic Games will start on 8 October, followed by at least seven days of three hour segments of coverage.

The Paralympic Games will be available in the United States from 6 to 17
September with daily live and delayed highlight shows on UniversalSports.com. Daily video highlights will also be available at the official site of the US Paralympic Team. Beginning in 2009, the US Olympic Network will re-air portions of the 2008 Paralympic Games.
Broadcast presenting title sponsor GE and associate sponsor VISA will provide branded promotions during the Paralympic Games with integrated media placements on Universal Sports TV and their website.
The Paralympic Games are an elite sporting event for accomplished athletic champions spanning different disability groups. Emphasizing the Paralympic values of courage, determination, inspiration and equality, the Paralympic Games showcase participants' athletic achievements rather than their disability in a variety of competitions including Athletics, Swimming, Equestrian, Wheelchair Basketball, plus many more. In Beijing, a total of 4,000 athletes from around 150 countries will be competing in 20 sports.

"Bringing the 2008 Paralympic Games to the United States is a significant milestone in our mission to celebrate the athletes and competitions that truly exemplify the human spirit," said Claude Ruibal, CEO of Universal Sports. "Universal Sports is committed to be the home of Olympic and Paralympic sports and give sports enthusiasts' exciting television programming, complemented by a unique online environment that brings athletes together." Said IPC President Sir Philip Craven: "We at the International Paralympic Committee welcome this opportunity to expand our audience in the United States, and show what a magnificent event this will be. The Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games are hitting a number of milestones and the broadcasting with Universal Sports will most certainly bring in more Paralympic enthusiasts."

Coverage of the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games on Universal Sports will be hosted by longtime Olympic play-by-play commentator Al Trautwig. Along with daily news and updates online, Universal Sports will be showcasing a special original athlete profile series.

For current Universal Sports scheduling information for the 2008 Beijing
Paralympic Games, please visit UniversalSports.com.

Kadena Air Force Base - Day 1 & Day 2

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As promised-- here is my "daily" update from Japan. We arrived safe and sound into Kadena Air Force Base in Okinawa, Japan. Now I have had two full days on the base and have all kinds of little things to report from here in mini-America.

Let's start at the beginning... we had some drama leaving Champaign and attempting to get to Colorado Springs. We were set up to take a shuttle from Champaign to O'Hare airport... six of us with a months supply of luggage, 6 racing chair boxes...6 everyday chairs etc. The shuttle pulled up at DRES just fine at 4 AM with...a mini-trailer. Not the one we had hand picked. Drama #1. Can we fit? Well, I'll have you know that we are some expert packers and managed to fit all of our stuff, bodies, and wheelchairs into this van and mini-trailer. But wait, we had to pick up another passenger. No big deal, we can sit three to a seat, the back seat was filled with everyday chairs, the front bench seat was filled with a racing chair box that wouldn't fit in the mini-trailer and the lone passenger can have the front seat. No biggie. Drama averted.

But wait, there are two more passengers to pick up --- even though we were supposed to have the shuttle to ourselves the way it was booked... Well, there's literally no more room in the van or trailer. The driver contacted his boss who does not quite fathom the volume of stuff or what the stuff is that we are transporting. There's about an hour of back and forth trying to figure out what to do. The initial result: we'll just drop this party of 6 with all this luggage off on the side of the road, because nobody should have that much stuff and the other passengers need to be picked up. Are you kidding me???? Nope. So we reluctantly started unloading, not at the same place where we had been picked up, on the side of the road at 5am. As we were just about done with the everyday chairs, the boss changed his mind and we were allowed to proceed to chicago.

We arrived in Chicago, with 45 minutes to go before our flight, with a ton of luggage... so needless to say, we didn't make that flight. But, all the other flights directly into Colorado Springs were booked up, so we had to go to Denver instead and catch a small plane into Colorado Springs. We were convinced our luggage wouldn't make it. Luckily, (for us) United made sure all of our stuff made it on the little plane, too bad for the other passengers that nobody else's stuff made it...

Arrived in Colorado Springs about 4 hours later than expected. And this is where the team processing begins. What is team processing? You enter into this warehouse room and are given a shopping cart and you go around to different stations and try on clothing to figure out your sizes. XS in the pants (even those are too big), S or M in shirts depending on the size, don't forget the Ralph Lauren blazer and blouse for the opening ceremonies. And then you take all the stuff to the tailor who then makes sure everything fits just right. The whole ordeal is very exciting. This is also the first time we had seen each other as a team since trials, so everybody was catching up with each other. Swimming was there processing as well and some of the cycling team was there training as well. Basically, the excitement level was through the roof. The Olympic Training Center during the Olympics and as the Paralympians are gearing up to leave -- it doesn't get much more exciting than that.

Saturday morning after some re-packing and shipping extra stuff home, we piled into a DC-10 at Peterson Air Base / Colorado Springs and left. The US Department of Defense graciously offered to host us for a week of training at Kadena Air Force Base. They took care of our flight and everything. By that I mean, we were in a 300+ passenger plane with ~100 of us on board -- so we each got 2-3 seats to ourselves to stretch out and sleep. We stopped over in Anchorage, Alaska to refuel and then on to Okinawa.

Our arrival... wow. We were greeted by a huge military entourage, similar to or more than the amount of people that come to greet the President we are told. A lot of cute guys, of course some women as well, balloons attached to the giant lifts to unload us all. It was quite the operation. We were brought directly to our room to drop off our carry on baggage and then whisked off to dinner at the Officer's Club. At dinner we were given a briefing of what to expect while we were here, to look out for the Habu snakes among other things. Meanwhile, our Air Force friends found all of our checked luggage and equipment and brought it up to our rooms while we ate!

Went to bed, and got up the next day to re-assemble our equipment and let the training begin. The food has been incredible. Breakfast and Lunch are these huge buffets with a little bit of everything you could possibly want. All the meals were also pre-planned with a dietician from the USOC so things are nice and healthy too. We all are paired up with "sponsors" who are men/women stationed here on the base and are basically there for whatever we possibly could need. My sponsor is Tamika from Minnesota. She and her husband and I are going out for dinner this evening. I'm looking forward to it! Yesterday we also scoped out the BX (kinda like a walmart) and the Commissary (grocery store) on base.

The weather... it's HOT and HUMID. They told us it would be, but wow. It's about 85 degrees here with 90-95% humidity. You feel like you've just walked into a steam room the second you walk outside. I mean, we are on an island in the pacific.... Today we trained out on the perimeter road of the base, it was nice and toasty. It felt good though. I'm feeling stronger than ever and am looking forward to the rest of the week of training. They say Beijing will be similar... a little less hot, but probably equally as humid. I am off this afternoon and am just enjoying the air conditioning and relaxation. Until next time...

Anjali

T Minus 40 Hours and Counting...

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The time is almost here for my departure to Colorado Springs for Team Processing before heading to Japan (for a training camp) and then on to Beijing! I cannot believe it is actually here.

Going to the Paralympics is something I have always dreamed about...for as long as I can remember. It is something that has always been on my horizon for a while, whether it was for skiing or for track, but the timing was just never right because of injuries, surgeries, life etc. The time is now, and I can't wait!

I am feeling great, feeling strong, feeling ready. With the support of friends, family, my coach, various doctors and teammates, I have accomplished so many great things. I know there's more to come soon, and I'm ready.

So, what does it take to achieve your goals? It takes passion, hard work, determination and sacrifice. Passion is something that is so hard to describe--it is loving something so much through the good, the bad, the laughter, the celebrations, the pain, the tears, the successes and the failures.

Thank you to absolutely everybody who has been a part of my life. I would not be able to reach my goals if it weren't for you all. Not a moment goes by that I don't stop and think about how blessed I have been to have such a great support system and people who always pushed me to reach new heights in whatever I was doing. Thank you.

Also, thank you for your continued support, and for believing in me. Together, with your support and my drive, I'm off to Beijing to be the best I can be.

Please tune in online at www.paralympicsport.tv or at www.youtube.com/paralympicsporttv . I am hesitant to post a schedule, as I guarantee you it will change -- but, tentatively I will race Day 3 (9/9/08), Day 4 (9/10/08), Day 5 (9/11/08), Day 6 (9/12/08), Day 8 (9/14/08), Day 9 (9/15/08), Day 10 (9/16/08). These are the days in Beijing, so make sure you account for the time difference!

Until next time...

Chicago 2016

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I recently attended an event in Chicago in support of the 2016 bid. Chicago is a finalist right now in the selection process for the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics. The other finalists are Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo and Madrid. At the event, I had the opportunity to meet many current and former Olympians and Paralympians. Prior to the evening show, I spent some time talking with Dominique Moceanu, Olympic gold medalists in gymnastics. It was great to exchange stories and hear about everything she has been up to lately. I was also touched by her lifelong commitment to bettering the world and making a difference.

Anjali & Dominique

The event was truly exciting to see how much energy the 2016 folks all have and how dedicated they are both to the Olympic and Paralympic movement. I hope they get the bid!

Natick Tab Article

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I made the local paper again today... check out the article: here!

Thanks!

Article in the Metrowest Daily News

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Check out tomorrow's (Sundays) Metrowest Daily News, there is supposed to be an article about me!

Beijing 2008 Here I Come!

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I'm headed to Beijing as part of Team USA!! More info to come later... Thanks for all your support!!!!!!!!!!!!

US Paralympic Trials - Update #1

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It is nice and hot here in Arizona. By hot I mean it was 112 today I believe.
The way this meet works: this is our one shot to hit our elite standards to make the team. It is more complicated than simply hitting your time, however. The United States has slots for 17 women to go to Beijing for Track and Field. They are allotted 3 spaces per classification per event. This number is predetermined based on last years results at World Championships. After each event, our times will be scored. The score is determined by taking (Elite Standard - Your Time ) / Elite Standard X 100. Then this creates a ranking list and then the 17 spots are filled based on that.

My races have been going well overall. I ran my 100m yesterday and ran a 17.83. I hit my elite standard for that race and finished in second behind my teammate Jessie. My 200m was this morning and it was a bit disappointing for me. I did not hit my elite standard, I ran a 31.82 and our standard is 31.37. My 400m prelim was excellent. I ran a 59.13 which I am very happy with. I finished second in my heat and have the final tonight.

My "Team Anjali" clan (my brother Ian, Courtney and her mom) arrived late last night and were at the track today cheering me on. They even have shirts! I am so grateful that they were able to come and support me for the event.

I am now off to rest and enjoy the air conditioning before having to go out again in a few hours. The team will be officially announced tomorrow night at the banquet.

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