Seven years ago, on the 7th of July, 2005, Martine Wright’s life changed forever. Just hours after she celebrated the announcement that London would host the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012 the night before, she boarded a Circle line train. It was a decision taken in haste, made in light of the fact she was already late for work. It was a decision that would change her life forever.
Just minutes into the journey, the man sitting opposite her detonated a bomb which blew the carriage apart – and Martine was caught between the rutted metal, trapped by her legs. To save her life – she lost 75% of her blood – they were both later amputated above the knee. It was the end of the life she knew – but the beginning of an adventure she could never have previously imagined.
Because today, she proudly represented Great Britain in the first ever Women’s Paralympic Volleyball team. In front of 3,000 spectators – including her husband Nick, and son, Oscar, who waved a banner reading ‘Go, Mummy, Go!’ - Martine high-fived her team as they played a tough game against the Ukraine.
Team GB lost out, conceding by 3-0 in the match. But for Martine, just being at the games was enough – and she’s now looking forward to their next match against the Netherlands, which they have to win to secure a place in the semi-final. ‘My motivation, one of my motivations, is I truly believe I was meant to do this journey,’ she said after her Paralympic debut. ‘I want to do my nation and my family proud.’
Martine was sitting just three feet away from where the bomb was detonated – she could have easily lost her life like the seven others on board her train. So, Martine vowed not to waste her second chance at life.
Instead she fought to achieve her ambitions. And as the crowd roared when she arrived at the match against the Ukraine this morning, it was clear that she couldn’t contain her pride – and neither could we. Despite disappointment that Team GB lost, it was certainly a moment Martine – and the rest of the country – will always remember.
‘If people take something from my story, my journey, sometimes that gives me strength, that gives me inspiration,’ she said. ‘I've just got to keep going, keep going.’