Leicester

Leicester celebrates Paralympic flame

The Paralympic flame has been carried through the streets of Leicester during a day of celebrations.

The flame was brought to the city on Friday after being lit at a ceremony in London.

Thousands of people saw a parade of drummers, dancers and Paralympic athletes along Humberstone Gate and also enjoyed live music and dance.

Spectators were given a chance to try out Paralympic sports such as fencing, football and gymnastics.

Leicester is the only place in the East Midlands, and one of 33 in the UK, to host a flame celebration as part of the Paralympic Torch Relay.

Sports development manager Vicky Ball said: "Not only are we celebrating the flame coming to Leicester but we want to raise the profile of disability sport in the city.

"So we have had these come-and-have-a-go activities like wheelchair basketball, seated volleyball and armchair bicycles."

Wheelchair fencer James Bircher said: "I think people enjoy watching the Paralympics more than the main Olympics because they see sports played in different ways.

"Look at the wheelchair rugby, which is really full on. They are people with disabilities but playing with such commitment."

Once the flame celebrations have taken place, the flames will eventually be united at the Paralympic Flame Lighting Ceremony at Stoke Mandeville, the spiritual home of the Paralympic Movement, to create the London 2012 Paralympic Flame.

This flame will then be carried on a 24-hour overnight relay to London and the opening ceremony of the Paralympics on 29 August.

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