EMMA WIGGS says her ‘incredible’ Paralympics experience has been worth every bit of the hard work involved in qualifying and preparing.
The former Regis School PE teacher has captained the GB women’s sitting volleyball team in their first-ever Paralympic Games and said the whole thing had been ‘mind-blowing’.
Although GB lost all three initial pool games against Japan, the Netherlands and Ukraine and a play-off against Brazil, Wiggs said it had still been a very special event to be part of.
The GB women always knew it would be tough – they have been up against the world’s best teams, most of whom have been together far longer. But Wiggs and her team-mates have still enjoyed every moment.
The 31-year-old said: “It’s been incredible. The Olympic Village is out of this world and the team have been performing really well. We’ve learned from every single game and have given a good account of ourselves.”
Wiggs said playing in front of home crowds of up to 10,000 had been fabulous: “The atmosphere has been mind-blowing. The crowd have been behind us for every single point.
“Our team spirit has been incredible too.
“We’ve had tough matches but having been together full-time for a few weeks now, we’ve all inspired each other. For us this has been a major stepping stone on the way to the Rio Paralympics of 2016.”
Wiggs has had support in London from many relatives and friends – and even West Sussex supporters she doesn’t know.
“After games we’ve been getting five or ten minutes to see people who have been there to support us. To see the pride in people’s faces at what we’re achieiving in has been wonderful.
“There have been past and present pupils from The Regis School, and from Lavant House School where I used to work. I’ve seen banners saying ‘Go Wiggsy’ and not even known who’s been waving them!”
Another highlight for the former University of Chichester student was the opening ceremony, which she said was ‘indescribably brilliant’.
After today’s final game, Wiggs is looking forward to coming back to West Sussex to share her experiences with many of those who have backed her since the start of her Paralympics dream.