Mattie's back, and he's brought the medals
Mattie, the 15-year-old all-round athlete from Knowle, is back from international competition, and he's brought the medals
Pictured: The GB team enters the arena, with Mattie but minus his kit; Mattie in the pool; playing badminton; and playing basketball
MATTIE Reynolds is back from the World Dwarf Games 2017, held in Guelph, Canada.
As we reported earlier on Facebook, and in the latest printed issue of the Voice, Mattie, from Knowle, brought a big haul of medals back with him (listed below).
Here are the impressions of his mum, Marilyn, about the trip – which was not all plain sailing …
Firstly a huge thank you to everyone who supported Mattie and made this trip possible.
Mattie was in the junior B team for most of his team events.
Day 1 ...
Everything went amazingly smoothly. Taxi, flights on time, smooth transfer from Dublin to Toronto.
Unfortunately it quickly transpired that while we had arrived, our bags hadn’t.
We and another family waited patiently for a third family to arrive for the transfer to the opening ceremony. With the time for the ceremony fast approaching and no family in sight, we managed to persuade the transport company to take us. We arrived at the stadium with the Great Britain team already about 30ft into the arena! Mattie managed to skip under the Union Jack flag and join the team for the procession despite not wearing his kit (see photo).
All 19 countries proudly displayed their flags and athletes, some taking longer than others. The US, with approximately 220 participants, contrasted with Peru’s lone athlete. This was followed by a quick coffee and cake ‘get to know you’.
From then on, the schedule was gruelling, with registration at 7.30am most mornings and the events often going on until 7pm.
For me there were three main highlights of the Games.
My first being the swimming events – Mattie was amazing, breaking his personal best in Freestyle. He smashed all his races gaining five golds even in the 4x50 relay team. Well done GB.
The next highlight for me was the badminton singles and doubles.
In the singles Mattie breezed his way through the first three games into the medal finals and after two full-on battles he just lost out, but managed to achieve the Silver.
The Doubles were amazing for different reasons. Mattie was palled up with an American called Daniel. It was fascinating to see these two boys who had never met before, within minutes played like well honed pros establishing who did front and back.
They fought and smoothly won their first three games, making into the semi-finals. However, disaster struck – Daniel twisted his knee yet still battled on despite it being iced and bandaged. Their teamwork continued to be impeccable but stiff opposition with Paralympic badminton players and the injury meant that they missed out on medals. Nevertheless in my eyes they were winners.
My third highlight of the Games was Junior B team’s effort in Volleyball. None of the team had ever played a game before –when they began they didn’t really know the rules. My son Reece stepped in to guide them and even the Canadian team shared some techniques. Whilst they were still losing to the likes of the US, by the third match they had learnt to pass on their side and were returning most of the volleys. I learnt that you are also allowed to kick the ball over the net.
The umpire was on their side and whooped every time they scored. Despite losing each game, by the last third of their last game they started to win.
At the end of the match the umpire came over to the team and stated that he thought they were amazing in that, in game one they didn’t know how to play and now they could play in such a short space of time and had started to win.
I must say I am very proud and humbled by the team’s resilience and determination. Despite defeat, they carried on and put into practice every bit of advice given to them. I must say a huge well done!
This to me highlighted the unique element of the games. While the competition level was high, with some world records being achieved, the games are also about giving people with growth disorders the opportunity to participate as valid team members, in sports that in everyday life would prove more difficult with average height people.
As well as the sports in which he won medals, Mattie also took part in Boccia, New Age Curling, Floor Hockey, Basketball and Football.
I must say we found the whole event an amazing experience and Mattie now has friends in the USA, even in the Artic, and around the world.
“It was really great to have an opportunity to play on an equal playing field. I am happy with my swimming success as I was in some open events. It was also nice to meet people from all over the world and to make some new friendships”. Mattie
Thanks once again to everyone who made this possible.
The Reynolds Family
Gold Swimming Freestyle 25m
Gold Swimming Breaststroke 25m
Gold Swimming Freestyle 50m
Gold Swimming Ind. Medley 100m
Gold Swimming Relay 4x50m
Silver Badminton (despite not having any of his kit or racket!)
Silver 60m Track
Silver 100m Track
Silver Table Tennis
Bronze Floor Hockey