2012 Paralympics returns 'home'

By Patrick Camara Ropeta, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau

Posted at Aug 29 2012 07:22 PM | Updated as of Aug 30 2012 03:22 AM

LONDON -- The United Kingdom is once again ready to open its doors to the world, this time for the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

Here at Stoke Mandeville in Buckinghamshire, the excitement is palpable in the place considered by many as the birthplace of the paralympic movement.

In 1948, the first ever paralympic event was held at a local hospital in the area, a small tournament for disabled soldiers from the second war.

Led by German doctor Ludwig Guttman, the humble tournament developed from physical therapy into sports until it officially became the Paralympic Games in 1960 alongside the Olympics in Rome.

“It feels like the eyes and ears of the world is on London and Stoke Mandeville, especially today, with all the excitement. Everyone understanding what Stoke Mandeville's history and heritage is about is absolutely incredible and something that is really important for the community and the nation to understand,” said
Ollie Moore of Wheel Power.

With only a few hours left before the opening ceremony, the London 2012 Paralympic Games feels like a homecoming with the official Paralympic flame lit at its spiritual home in Stoke Mandeville, attended by former paralympic athletes and London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe.

Over 4,000 athletes from 166 countries have already arrived in London, ready for the competition, including Filipino athletes in powerlifting, swimming, athletics and table tennis.

“One thing for sure naman po is we're doing our very best,” said table tennis player Josephine Medina.

“Sigurado po ako na lahat naman gagawin namin yung best namin para makasungkit ng medalya, at para naman mabigyan ng rason na ngumiti ang Pilipinas,” said powerlifter Adeline Dumapong.

The Paralympic torch is now making its way across London before making its final appearance in the opening ceremony at the Olympic stadium later this evening.

After the success of the opening ceremony of the Olympics, expectations are high for the show themed "enlightenment" featuring 3,000 volunteer performers, 100 children, 50 disabled acrobats and 100 professional artists.