30 Aug 2012

Sport: Paralympic Games open in London

10:30 am on 30 August 2012

The 2012 Paralympic Games have been declared open after a glittering opening ceremony in London.

Wheelchair-bound physicist Stephen Hawking begun proceedings by reading from the stage, with triple Paralympic champion Oscar Pistorious and actor Sir Ian McKellen among the others to take a starring role.

Pacific representatives from Fiji, Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and Tonga joined the other national delegations in parading around the main stadium.

The athletes have been busily counting down to the start of the Games.

Fijian high-jumper Iliesa Delana won a silver medal at last year's World Championships in Christchurch.

Fiji's Chef de Mission in London, Sainiana Tukana, says after all the hard yards the 27 year old is ready to go.

"Going to the pre-training camp back in Wales has made us feel like we had acclimatised ourselves to the weather and it has made Iliesa prepared, himself, so we're just looking forward to his day of competition will be on the third of next month."

Sprinter Milo Toleafoa and shot-putter Leitu Viliamu are representing Samoa in London, with the head of Samoa's delegation, Elfrida Keil, optimistic about their chances.

We're hopeful for medals. They're quite confident in their events. The support from the other teams in the Oceania group has been very good and so far the athletes are very confident in what they're doing.

The first competitors get underway on Thursday morning local time.