The Straits Times
Published on Aug 31, 2012

Paralympics: British marine describes 'amazing' descent


LONDON (AFP) - The injured British soldier who delivered the Paralympic flame in spectacular fashion from a zip-wire high above the London skyline has paid tribute to doctors who allowed him to make the opening ceremony.

Mr Joe Townsend, a former Royal Marine commando who lost both legs when he stepped on an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan, told The Times newspaper that he contracted an infection last week and needed surgery.

"It was down to them that I was there," he was quoted as saying by the daily. "I was rushed into hospital on Monday. Luckily my surgeons came in on their time off to operate to get me ready in time to be at the Opening Ceremony."

Mr Townsend, dressed in a Games tracksuit and without his prosthetic legs, descended with the torch from the 115m high observation tower overlooking the Olympic Stadium in east London on Wednesday evening.