Mayor tries out sitting volleyball

Hillingdon Times: Mayor of London Boris Johnson, left, and actress Barbara Windsor enjoy a game of sitting volleyball Mayor of London Boris Johnson, left, and actress Barbara Windsor enjoy a game of sitting volleyball

Boris Johnson has tried his hand at sitting volleyball as he got into the spirit of the Paralympic Games.

The mayor of London joined actress Barbara Windsor for a game at London's ExCeL arena as the opening matches of the men's and women's competitions got under way.

After taking to the court, Mr Johnson posed for a photograph with the British women's team who lost 3-0 to Ukraine in their opening match.

These are the first Games that ParalympicsGB have entered the sitting volleyball competition.

Among the players was Martine Wright who fulfilled her dream of representing her country at the Paralympics after being horrifically injured in the 7/7 bombings. Both of her legs were amputated and doctors told her she had lost 75% of her blood.

If it was not for another passenger, off-duty police officer Elizabeth Kenworthy, who helped tie a makeshift tourniquet around one of her legs, she would not have survived.

Wright used the incident as a platform to embark on a new life, including the decision to compete for Great Britain at the Paralympics.

Sitting volleyball emerged in the Netherlands in the 1950s as a combination of volleyball and a German game called sitzball. The sport made its debut as a Paralympic medal sport at the Arnhem 1980 Games. The women's event was added to the Paralympic programme in 2004.

The rules of sitting volleyball are similar to its Olympic counterpart. But in the Paralympic event, a part of an athlete's body between the buttocks and the shoulder must be in contact with the court whenever a shot, or attempt at a shot, is made.

Each team of six players is allowed three touches of the ball before it must cross over the net.

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