Commonwealth Games: Bucks woman with cerebral palsy reflects on 'amazing' experience at opening ceremony

A Bucks woman has recalled her 'amazing' experience guiding the Scottish athletes at the opening ceremony for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

By James Lowson
Thursday, 4th August 2022, 9:44 am

Asa Marshall, from High Wycombe, participated in the opening show at the games in Birmingham 10 years on from her involvement in the Paralympics ceremony at London 2012.

Asa whose parents live in Aylesbury, went through extensive rehearsals ahead of the global showcase, and is now ready to practice ahead of the closing performance on 8 August.

Asa told The Bucks Herald about last Thursday's special show (28 July), saying: “It was absolutely amazing.

Asa Marshall at the 2022 Commonwealth Games

“It was an incredible experience. I was buzzing.

“We've been rehearsing since the beginning of June.

“It started as once, a week and as it got closer it became a few times a week.

“I feel so blessed to get this opportunity, being the only wheelchair user who was a flag bearer.

“It was an absolute honour. I want to show other disabled people that we can reach goals just like any other person.”

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The 33-year-old who works as a freelance model, is also an active disability rights campaigner.

She launched her own charity called 'Achieving Strong Aims (A.S.A) five years ago.

Asa at Alexander Stadium

Asa concedes that the charity has stalled in recent years, like a lot of not-for-profit organisations due to the pandemic.

But the Bucks woman's passion for promoting people with disabilities hasn't waned.

While Asa considers her involvement in the Paralympics 10 years ago as one of the “most incredible experiences” of her life.

This year's ceremony proved extra special.

She added: “In the Paralympics I had a role where I was doing a group dance.

“With this one I came out on my own, and had a much bigger role, and gained a lot more camera time. It was quite nerve-wracking.

“There were 5,000 people there, 1.2 billion watching around the world.

“But then when you get backstage and see the screens and see the atmosphere, you get a great adrenaline rush.”

Asa is still in touch with people she met at the London ceremony a decade ago, and has seen firsthand how the Paralympics acts as an inspirational force for good galvanising people living with disabilities.