Plymouth Paralympian David Wetherill is 'buzzing' for the games
SPORTING stars have pledged their support for one of the city's Paralympians who has told The Herald he hopes to bring home a medal.
David Wetherill, a twenty-two year-old table tennis player from Torpoint, has said he is "definitely capable" of bagging another medal for the region – and the city is right behind him.
As part of Team GB, David will make up one of the youngest teams in the world to ever take part in the Paralympic Games, which start on Wednesday.
He said: "I'm buzzing – I can't wait to get going. I think excitement has taken over my nerves now.
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"I'm definitely capable of taking a medal but I need to keep my head in the game. Training is intense at the moment but it is going really well. There is so much hype sometimes and it can either make or break you, but I'm taking it in and I'm going to use it.
"I'm even more focused than Beijing this time and my parents and sister are coming to cheer me on.
"They haven't watched me compete in an international game for a while now and I'm sure they will be giving it some in the crowd – it could make all the difference."
David is currently training in Sheffield before travelling to the Paralympic village on Sunday.
Diving star and fellow Olympian Tonia Couch said: "David is a lovely person and I'm sure he will do really well. He just needs to keep smiling and try to put his opponent off. Just soak it all in, all the cheering, it's a once in a lifetime opportunity."
Antony James, swimmer and another 2012 Olympian, said David should use the home crowd to his advantage.
"Just enjoy the games. It's an amazing experience. Do Plymouth proud," he said.
Meanwhile, councillor Mike Wright, the Lord Mayor, said he wished David every success. He said: "It would be really nice for the city if we got another medal. We've already got a bronze and a gold.
"Perhaps this will make it third time lucky! I wish him all the best of luck."
The Paralympic Flame procession will pass through the city on Friday when sports stars from Plymouth Argyle, Plymouth Albion, Plymouth Raiders and the City of Plymouth Athletics Club will help mark the occasion.
The procession will be lead by Plymouth's Flame Ambassador, 14-year-old wheelchair athlete, Doaa Shayea. She said: "My dream is to compete in the Paralympics and I'm really excited the Games are in London this year.
"I know some of the Paralympic athletes and have raced against a few of them. I wish all of Team GB lots of luck and will be keeping my fingers crossed for them, I'm sure they will make us proud."
Spectators are being invited to welcome the Flame as it makes its way through the city centre.
It will set off from the Copthorne Hotel at 4pm with the City of Plymouth Pipe Band and parade down Armada Way to the Big Screen before moving on to the Council House.
Councillor Peter Smith, deputy leader of Plymouth City Council, said: "We're expecting a carnival atmosphere on Friday afternoon as the Procession winds its way through the city centre. This is a wonderful opportunity for people to come and join in the fun, cheer on the Flame and help us celebrate the Paralympics.
"I'm delighted our sporting stars from the city's clubs will be joining us for the occasion and showing their support."
Council Leader, Councillor Tudor Evans: "Our Olympians did a fantastic job and now I hope the whole city will get behind our local Paralympic athletes and cheer them on as well. They've all worked so hard to get to London 2012, it's an immense achievement and we are proud of them. I'll be keeping my fingers crossed they achieve their dreams and come home with a medal."
David Wetherill's first match will take place at the ExCel Arena next Thursday.