David Gold_head_and_shouldersFor all the sponsors launches, London 2012 related events and even the sale of Olympic and Paralympic tickets themselves, the real excitement really comes out when the draws for the Games take place.

On Saturday night, the wheelchair basketball draw was made in Aylesbury, at an appropriate location near Stoke Mandeville, where the Paralympic Games were 'born' back in 1948 – the last time London hosted the Olympics.

It was an evening of some considered style, though as I walked into the Waterside Theatre, I discovered that it was also a monopoly themed event. The table plan for the dinner took the form of a monopoly board, with each table representing a different group of properties. Presumably this was part of the general theme around London, as the host city of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

In the event, I was sat on the yellow table, which was pleasing. The trio of Leicester Square, Coventry Road and Piccadilly usually serve me well, but I just felt sorry for those stuck on the Whitechapel and Old Kent Road table.

Speeches came and went as British stars of past and present took to the stage to give their thoughts on this summer's Games. The draw, scheduled for between the main course and dessert, was then put back to after the meal.

That slight scheduling alteration aside, the evening was well organised and run smoothly, with the conversation, wine and food flowing. It had a wedding feel to it, with photographers running around, everyone seated at round tables and tuxedos everywhere. The food was fantastic – the tarte-tatin served for dessert would have had Gregg Wallace drooling – though admittedly, so would a sugar infused cube of butter. There were even cheese plates. I can't remember the last time I had a cheese plate but it was more than welcome, apart from the unspeakably awful orangey blue creation which had most of the table reaching for the water jug.

The food aside, finally the moment we had waited for arrived. As the draw began to be made, all eyes were on the big screen behind GB stars Simon Munn and Amy Conroy, who were drawing balls from the pot. Or pots. An interesting mechanism had been devised, whereby each team were paired to ensure the balance of the groups was as fair as possible.

So in the men's draw, Spain and Germany were paired, as were Italy and Canada, the United States and Colombia, Turkey and Poland, Australia and Japan, and finally, Britain and South Africa. When each pair was drawn, then either a red or yellow ball would be drawn to signify which of the two teams would be playing in which pool. So if Spain and Germany were drawn, and then a yellow ball was pulled out, Germany would go into pool A, and Spain into B. Confused? So was I. I'm still not sure if I've explained it correctly. Finally, as the host nation Britain would get to choose which pool it competed in.

London 2012_wheelchair_basketball_draw_Aylesbury_January_21_2012
After an explanation which left most confused, and FIFA look like masters of explaining draw procedures, finally we got underway.

Out came Spain and Germany, the former went into Pool A and the latter into B. Italy and Canada were the next out. Italy went into A, and Canada into B. Pool B was beginning to look like the tougher section, with the 2008 silver medallists Canada tricky opposition and Germany a handful.

Then the United States and Colombia were drawn, and tension suddenly filled the room. British Wheelchair Basketball members were whispering their hope that the USA would go into B. The idea of one really tough group and one easy becomes quite appealing when you get to choose which you compete in.

And so it was B. A collective sigh went up, which was compounded when reigning champions Australia found their way into Pool A alongside the Americans, with Japan going into B. Once Turkey and Poland had been syphoned off into A and B respectively, finally it was Britain's turn to choose.

Out of nowhere, suddenly the Countdown music began. Britain were being given the time it takes for Carol Vorderman to calculate how to make 834 with no numbers larger than 10 to decide between two fairly well matched pools.

The choice? "C".

It's impossible to conduct a serious affair, say a draw for the biggest Parasport event on earth, without the predictable jest that comes with it. Britain eventually chose Pool B, and everyone seemed happy. Apart from South Africa, of course, consigned to Pool A as a result.

The women's draw was conducted with slightly less frivolity. Into Pool A went Australia, Canada and Netherlands. Into B were China, the United States and Germany. The fourth pair were Brazil and France. The coloured ball was drawn and even the technical people assigning each team to their respective pools on the big screen couldn't work out which one to put each in. Finally, a re-draw was averted and Brazil put into A, and France to B. Britain chose A, unsurprisingly, given that they keep coming unstuck against the 2008 gold medallists the USA.

Immediately, talk of the games to come began and whether Britain could win medals this summer – and in which colour. The anticipation of the sporting event to come is always missing something until groups are filled and predictions can be made. And with that, it felt as though in some small way, the Paralympic Games have begun.

David Gold is a reporter for insideworldparasport. You can follow him on twitter here.