Catching the Paralympic Fever

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As the Paralympic games in London come to a close many (including myself) have been touched by the athletes' fortitude and the endearing spirit of both games.

Not one for sport, I normally stay clear of tuning into any sporting event, let alone attending a match, though after an incredible night of sport at the Excel Centre I've truly been converted.

Visiting any of the Olympic venues or park is a great outing alone, but I was lucky enough to get an evening pass to view some of the world's best Paralympic teams competing in men's sitting volleyball.

A packed arena comprised of locals and visitors, all cheering on Brazil and Team GB. As they geared up to represent their respective nations, scores of fans, mainly Londoners, proudly began to chant.

I was suddenly immersed into the most alien thing to me- the competitive zone of the spectator. Thankfully for me my home team were playing and before I knew it, a sense of relentless pride took over me and I was consumed by the spectacle.

Despite the festive atmosphere, which to my amusement involved a DJ playing popular music during every interval and point of the game, Great Britain struggled to defeat the Brazilian juggernauts.

It was a stellar performance from Team GB against a formidable opponent, and an electric applause was given to both sides after the match. I was just happy I managed not to get bored and was able follow the scoring system for volleyball.

The next match was the semi-final between Russia and Iran. Since I'm British with Iranian blood in me, this was the double whammy of the century- not only had I enjoyed seeing Great Britain play but now I was going to see Iran and this time I would hopefully be backing the winning team!

With my Russian friend beside me, I was overcome by Persian passion as I watched the epic Iranians score incredible points, hitting the ball with surgical precision. It was hard to watch for many Russians as their team kept on making errors.

Iran went on to win three straight sets out of five. It was a win that was echoed by the huge roars of supporters in the crowd, with everyone celebrating Iran's triumph, not just the gregarious Iranian contingent in the audience.

Video: post-match, pretty much every Iranian in London partying like they've won the world cup.

There's no doubt that when Iran play Brazil it will be another spectacular show in what has already been a momentous Paralympics and, yes, I will be watching for once!

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