Paralympian can’t wait to play against the best

Vicky Widdup,25, who will be competing for Great Britain in sitting volleyball at the Paralympic  Games.
Vicky Widdup,25, who will be competing for Great Britain in sitting volleyball at the Paralympic Games.

Vicky Widdup freely admits Team GB’s sitting volleyball team lack experience.

But Lancaster’s very own paralympian is adamant they aren’t at London 2012 to make up the numbers.

“We have only been together for the last two and half years where as others have been together for eight,” said the 25-year-old, speaking before a British Paralympic Association media blackout earlier this month.

“We are just building up and getting experience and aiming for Rio (in 2016). But we’re not going to be a token team.

“It’s very, very exciting and we’ve been training really hard at Loughborough and are just looking forward to playing games against some top level competition.

“We want to play out of our skins and show people how well we are doing.”

The former Central Lancaster High School pupil, who nearly had to have her left leg amputated after a motorbike accident aged 18, believes people who haven’t seen her sport before will be in for a treat when the sitting volleyball starts at the Excel Centre this Thursday, August 30.

Vicky, who now lives in London and was a national champion with the East London Lynx, said: “Any person can play it, whether you have a disability or not.

“The national league is mixed male and female teams as well, it’s inclusive. Friends can play with you.

“Everyone is close as well. It’s so fast and really dynamic.”

The counselling masters student, who has taken a break from her job as a wellbeing therapist in Dartford to prepare for the games, will have the support of mum Margaret who lives on Regent Park Avenue, Morecambe dad Ian, brother Jason and sister Jessica in the arena.

And having tasted the Olympic experience herself already after watching Team GB’s men’s volleyball team at the able-bodied games, she knows how loud the home crowd can be.

She said: “We went to watch some of the standing players at Earls Court and that was phenomenal, the crowd really got behind the team.

“I’m just going to enjoy it for what it is and show everyone what a fantastic sport sitting volleyball is. It will be a really great showcase.”