Patrick Flanagan: Paralympic athlete “gutted” after wheelchair “broken” on his way to Tokyo


The 23-year-old has flown from Ireland to London to connect with Japan for the Games, which start on August 24.
However, he job on Twitter: “When the plane landed, my wheelchair was returned to me, except it was completely broken.”

In his Saturday tweet explaining the situation, Flanagan included footage that appeared to show the broken wheels.

“In the end, the wheels were damaged so badly that they won’t turn, along with many other dents and scratches,” he wrote.

He explained that the staff at Heathrow were “extremely sorry”. The official Heathrow account responded to Flanagan’s tweet, saying: “We are sorry to hear that your wheelchair was damaged during transport to Heathrow and understand how painful that would have been. were informed of what had happened when they arrived at Heathrow, they did their best to help you on your journey. “

Flanagan competes in the 100m freestyle on day two of the Irish National Swimming Team Trials.

“We will work as a priority with the airline and the originating airport to investigate how the damage occurred and how it can be avoided in the future,” he continued. “Please contact us if we can be of assistance to you on future travel through Heathrow.”

However, Flanagan – who said that “an apology does very little for” him – describe the difficulties that the replacement wheelchair given to him presents.

“I was given an oversized airport wheelchair, filled out a claim form and sent it on my way. I can barely push myself into this new chair and simple tasks like getting around my hotel room are extremely difficult. And now I have to take the plane to Tokyo.

“This is not something that can happen to wheelchair uses. It is unacceptable. Airlines and baggage handlers need to pay more attention to chairs. My chair is my independence and takes months to install and Mine is specially sized to support my back, is light so I can lift it in the car and is extremely strong, it would not be easily damaged.

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Flanagan will swim in the S6 100m backstroke and 400m freestyle for Team Ireland.

It job an update later on Saturday saying he was stealing a replacement chair. “But not all wheelchair users are lucky enough to have a spare. The point remains the same, it should never happen!” he said.

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