Making a splash
Tiago Villanueva and Anne Green look in detail at paralympic swimming
When Leila Marques, a final year medical student at the University of Lisbon, had her forearm amputated because of a congenital abnormality when she was three years old she began to swim. Initially, it was part of her rehabilitation process, but it later took on a new level.
Having won many international swimming competitions over the past few years, Leila is a world class athlete. This summer she will be one of 4000 athletes from 130 countries heading to Greece between 17 and 28 September to participate in the Paralympic Games.
The Paralympic movement began in 1948, when Ludwig Guttmann, a neurologist working in Stoke Mandeville Hospital in the United Kingdom, realised the potential of sport in the rehabilitation process of veterans of the second world war with injuries of the spinal cord. He introduced the Stoke Mandeville Games for war veterans and made his competition coincide with the Olympic