Positive vibes at Dorney

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London 2012 resumed at Eton Dorney today with crowds savouring the opening day of the Paralympic Rowing Regatta as the temperatures rose and the sun shone.

Onlookers included the Samuel family from Israel, supporting sister Moran in the single sculls. 

Mayan Samuel said, “We enjoy everything and we are very excited to be at the Paralympic Games, not only for my sister but for all the athletes.”

Equally thrilled to be at Eton Dorney, Abraham Samuel observed, “It’s all very well arranged. Everything works wonderfully. It’s amazing.”

There were positive vibes from the water too. Poland’s Martyna Snopek was completely taken aback by the amount of support from the stands as she competed in the women’s single sculls.

“I was feeling quite awkward at first because I’ve never been at an adaptive regatta where there’s been an actual audience coming to see me,” she said.

“There’s usually friends and family but here it seems that people actually want to watch the rowing so I was not expecting this. I was quite shocked at how much it helped me at the end of the race. 

“I didn’t have to finish in any spectacular way as I knew I was going to be fourth but I heard the noise of the crowd and thought I’d better push on!”

Based in London, the 26-year-old science teacher first took up the sport at the Royal Docks Rowing Club before competing at the inaugural Paralympic Regatta in Beijing. 

“The event here really does feel like a regatta in its own right. In Beijing they tried really hard to make the Paralympics part of the Olympics and I was impressed with that but it still felt a bit artificial.

“It’s good fun and there’s plenty of volunteers to help me out with everything. I’ve rowed here a few times since so it feels like a home regatta.” 

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