June 20 - Martine Wiltshire, who lost both legs from below the knee as a result terrorist bombings here back on July 7 2005, will compete at London 2012 after being named in the women's sitting volleyball team here today by the British Paralympic Association (BPA).
The announcement of Wiltshire's selection for the women's team was made at the same time as the naming of the men's squad – with London 2012 being the first time that both will represent Britain at a Paralympic Games.
Wiltshire's tragic accident occurred after she had the misfortune to be sitting just three feet away from suicide bomber Shehzad Tanweer on a London Underground Circle Line train that she had boarded to hasten her journey.
Just the day before the attacks, Wiltshire (pictured below) was celebrating London winning the bid for the 2012 Games by jumping up and down with colleagues, but she was one the last to be freed from the train wreckage and was in a critical condition when she headed for hospital, having to be revived five times on the operating table.
However, the 39-year-old has courageously rebuilt her life and will now be competing at London 2012.
"It is amazing to be selected in the sitting volleyball squad to represent ParalympicsGB this summer," she told insideworldparasport.
"To have the announcement here in London, it feels like fate because this is where it all started for me.
"I have dreamed of being part of it and now I am going there to do my country proud.
"This has been a long journey, but it does not stop here as we now enter our final training phase."
She added: "I would like to thank my family and friends for all their love and support they have given me in my quest to become a Paralympian.
"They are all amazing."
Mayor of London Boris Johnson was on hand at the announcement and made a point of singling out Wiltshire for particular congratulations.
"The ParalympicsGB sitting volleyball team has a truly inspiring line-up of athletes who demonstrate the phenomenal power that sport has in bringing people together," he said.
"As the huge demand for tickets has shown, the 2012 Paralympic Games has captured the public's imagination and I for one am really looking forward to watching the action in a few months' time.
"I would like to wish Martine and all of her team-mates the very best of luck when they battle it out against the best teams from around the world this summer."
Wiltshire was just one of a number of athletes named today all of whom can tell a hugely inspirational story.
One was Netra Rana (pictured below), a Gurkha who was injured on patrol in Afghanistan and who has come through the Ministry of Defence's Battle Back programme to join the men's team.
"It has been a hard rehabilitation process for me but sitting volleyball has helped me physically and emotionally," said Rana, who has become a key team member and was awarded the prize for Most Valuable Player at the 2011 Continental Cup.
"I am very proud to be selected in the squad and I will be honoured to take to the court in the summer with my team-mates to represent Great Britain, and make my country and family proud.
"We cannot wait to get in front of the home crowd and show them what a great sport sitting volleyball is."
Also included is Charlie Walker, a former bomb disposal officer who lost his legs after contracting meningitis, and Richard Dobell, believed to be the only player in the history of volleyball to have represented to Britain in the indoor, beach and sitting versions of the game.
Prior to London 2012, only standing volleyball teams have competed for ParalympicsGB but the BPA has worked closely with Volleyball England to ensure sitting volleyball has met all credible performance requirements.
"I am very proud of these athletes today," said Penny Briscoe, Deputy Chef de Mission of Performance for ParalympicsGB.
"We have always been clear that there are no free tracksuits; in order to be selected for ParalympicsGB, you have to demonstrate that you have got what it takes to compete on the biggest stage in disability sport.
"Just a few years ago there was no sitting volleyball programme in the United Kingdom, so the sport has come on hugely in the last few years.
The naming of the 21 sitting volleyball players (pictured above with Boris Johnson) brings the number of selected athletes to 204 plus two sighted goalkeepers.
The full team is available to view by clicking here.
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