Physio Ali set for fifth Paralympics

Date posted: 06/09/16

Physio Ali set for fifth Paralympics

As the Rio 2016 Paralympics get under way, Ali Nagata talks physiotherapy, faith and friendships.

You may not see Ali Nagata in action during the Paralympics, but the fruits of her labour will clearly be on show.

Ali is an experienced physiotherapist, tasked with making sure Britain’s wheelchair basketballers are in the best possible shape for the Games, which begin with tomorrow’s opening ceremony.

As well as leading the medical team for both genders, Ali will also be working for the women's team on and off the court.

She said: "I have been involved with Paralympic sport since 2000 when I volunteered in Sydney. This will be my fifth Games with Paralympics GB.

“I have worked with athletics, swimming and the core team and I took up this role with basketball two and a half years ago.”

Physio Ali set for fifth Paralympics

Ali and the basketball team initially went to a holding camp in Sao Paolo.

“We trialled that two years ago,” she said, indicating the detailed planning that goes on for both Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The women’s team moved into the village on Friday (Sept 2) and the men a day later.

Getting to Rio is in many ways the final destination for the basketballers, who have already been to Lanzarote, Japan, Canada, USA, France and Holland this year.

Because she is very much part of a team, Ali said one of the best parts of her role is the journey they go on together.

“It’s really important to build friendships as we progress together,” she said.

“It’s great to be going to the Games as the high point of that and being able to do it together.”

Ali added: “We have had two big injuries this year, so to be able to get those athletes rehabbed and back on court was a huge personal highlight too.

“I am really looking forward to being part of the team out there. We will have 25 days away together. Strong friendships develop and you have to be able to get along together.”

Physio Ali set for fifth Paralympics

Checking out the Rio facilities

As a Christian in sport, Ali seeks to do her job in a way that honours Jesus.

She said: “The athletes all know that I’m a Christian, but we all have to work within professional boundaries.

“I try to serve God as I do my job. There are of course times when I fail."

“I try to be compassionate and support the athletes in any way I can.

“From a medical point of view, I also talk about the importance of well-being and getting that balance in life, just reminding them that there are other things out there beyond sport.”

Physio Ali set for fifth Paralympics

A pre-Rio warm-up match

Ali said there are a number of things we can pray for her as the Paralympics get under way.

She said: “It’s a long time away. Please pray for our health and well-being and that we will really get on as a team.

“I have to travel a lot to be able to do my job, so that means time away from my family. They will be in Canada during the Games, which is where my husband is from. Please pray we can keep in good touch.

“I would also love to have opportunities to speak about my faith when I’m out there."

“There are a few other Christians involved with the GB team. Please pray that we can support each other within our different roles at the Games.”

Physio Ali set for fifth Paralympics



Ed Mezzetti close crop

Ed Mezzetti, City of York Athletic Club
Ed runs for City of York Athletic Club and is Digital Content Manager for Christians in Sport. He is a member of St Thomas' Church, York