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Paralympics 2012: London bombings survivor makes volleyball bow

Martine Wright made her emotional debut as Britain’s sitting volleyball team lost in straight sets to Ukraine this morning.

Image: PA/PA Wire/Press Association Images

MARTINE WRIGHT, A London bombings survivor who lost both her legs in the 2005 attacks, made an emotional debut in the Paralympics on Friday as Britain took their Games bow in sitting volleyball.

Watched by London Mayor Boris Johnson, the 39-year-old took to the court at the ExCeL exhibition centre, receiving an ovation from the crowd in the South Arena 2.

Great Britain, having put together a team from scratch for the London 2012 Games, were beaten by Ukraine 25-9, 25-20, 25-14.

Ukraine took the first set with relative ease, though Great Britain gave them a tougher ride in the second set, reeling in their big lead.

Wright came on at 24-20 down in the second set, getting a big cheer from the crowd when her name was announced.

But she could not prevent the visitors from taking the set on the next point.

Wright came on again at 10-2 down in the third set and was cheered again as she took her first service, though Britain lost the point.

She was taken off at 23-13 down, ensuring she received her own round of applause before Ukraine sealed victory.

The bombings took place on July 7, 2005, the day after London won the right to host the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Four Islamist suicide bombers detonated their explosives on three London Underground trains and a double-decker bus, killing themselves and 52 others.

Wright could easily have been among those killed. One of the bombers blew himself up in the same carriage on her Circle Line train. She only awoke from a coma in hospital more than a week later.

Sitting Volleyball is played on a smaller court than regular volleyball. Players can also block and attack the serve.

Each team can have two players classed as having “minimal disability” on their squad, though only one can be among the six on the court at any one time.

There are two groups of four, with the best-of-five-sets matches played on a round-robin basis. The top two in each group go forward to the semi-finals.

(c) AFP, 2012

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