Martine Wright, a survivor of the London bombings who lost both legs in the 2005 attacks, made an emotional debut in the Paralympics sitting volleyball yesterday, describing it as a “dream come true”.
Watched by London Mayor Boris Johnson at the ExCeL exhibition centre, the 39-year-old received an ovation from the packed crowd as she took to the court.
Great Britain, having put together a team from scratch for the London 2012 Games, were beaten in straight sets by a much more experienced Ukraine team. But there was no dampening Wright’s enthusiasm. “It was absolutely amazing,” she told AFP.
“I’ve been on quite a journey the last few years. To be able to finally get on court in front of my friends and family that have supported me and been so important to me over the last few years was an absolute dream come true — and a dream that I never actually would have had before July 7.”
On that day seven years ago, four suicide bombers detonated their explosives on three London Underground trains and a double-decker bus, killing themselves and 52 others.
“The bombings took place the day after London won the right to host the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Wright could easily have been among the dead. She was sat just a short distance away from bomber Shehzad Tanweer, who killed six innocent people on a Circle Line train.
She only awoke from a coma in hospital more than a week later. Wright said she did not let her mind drift back to the 7/7 attacks as she made her Games bow.
“I didn’t think about it. Today was about performance and that was it,” said the survivor, who wears the number seven.
“I had my family in the crowd and I could see my son waving a banner with ‘go mummy, go mummy’. That’s something that I’ve had in my head for the last few years.
“They were all here. Mum, Dad, sister, brother, son.”