at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
London – For Martine Wright, who lost both legs in the London suicide bombings seven years ago, a dream came true Friday when she played for Britain in the Paralympics sitting volleyball team.
It's a dream and a dream I would never have had before July 7, 2005,” said Wright after Friday's match, in which Britain was defeated 3-0 by Ukraine.
Wright, a mother of one, was on her way to work on the morning of July 7, 2005, when suicide bombers staged simultaneous attacks on London Underground trains and a bus.
The night before, like so many of her compatriots, she had been celebrating the decision, announced in Singapore, that London had won the bid to stage the Olympic Games of 2012.
Realising that her life had changed for ever, Wright, 39, chose to fight her way back to fitness through sport.
“It's just absolutely amazing that I'm finally here. This has really got me through...I've come full circle and feel so lucky,” she said.
Wright told of the love for her sport and said: “I have goosebumps now and to come out here and represent my country in a sport I love is amazing,” she said.
“As a team we are really proud of ourselves. We have only got two-and-a-half years of experience and this is the first ever GB team so I am really proud, and this is the start of our journey.”
But, added Wright, the best thing were the crowds in the ExCel Centre, where Friday's competition took place.
“The biggest crowd we have played in front of before today was 250, so to come here is really amazing,” she said.
Her praise echoed remarks by Sebastian Coe, the chief of organizing committee LOCOG, who said that 122,000 spectators had come to watch paralympic events on the opening day of the London 2012 Paralympics Thursday.
Coe said he was “delighted” that Paralympians were playing in front of “pretty much full venues.”
“Of course it's a very powerful and eloquent statement about the status of the sport,” said Coe. – Sapa-dpa