London Spy

Sinclair brothers set to make history

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Scott Sinclair trains with England U21s in 2011 (Reuters)

Scott and Martin Sinclair are set to become the first brothers to play football in the Olympic and Paralympic Games in the same year.

Swansea City striker Scott, 23, will represent Great Britain at the London Games, which kick off in a week's time.

And later next month, his older brother Martin, 26, will feature for the Paralympic team, ensuring the Sinclair name goes into the record books.

"The Olympics is so big, I never ever dreamt that me and my brother would be part of the same games," Scott said ahead of Friday's warm-up game against Brazil in Middlesbrough.

"It's an amazing achievement for both of us and for our family as well. Hopefully we can both go all the way and each win a gold medal."

Eight years ago, a seemingly innocuous accident left Martin confined to a wheelchair for over three years after doctors misdiagnosed what they thought was a minor muscle problem.

"I came down a play slide and landed on my hip," said Martin, who was already suffering from cerebral palsy.

"I broke it, but my doctors misdiagnosed it. They said it was a pulled ligament. But the ball and socket had come out and gone right up my backside. They never X-rayed me or nothing. That put me out of action for years."

But, inspired by Scott and his other brother Jake - now 17 and currently impressing at Southampton's academy - Martin managed not only to get out his wheelchair but also to start playing football again.

"Watching Scott and Jake play football kept me going," Martin said. "I'd one week go see one of them play, next week the other.

"I never gave up on the dream of playing myself. When I was in the wheelchair I had family around me who never looked at the negative. That's what kept me going and smiling.

"I was in constant pain but I had to battle through it and keep smiling. Eventually I was supposed to have an operation on my hand.

"When I went into hospital in a wheelchair they decided to X-ray my hip as well. I had a hip replacement at 21 so in total I was in and out of hospital for eight years and I was in a wheelchair for three and a half years."

To this day he remains philosophical.

"But everything happens for a reason. Had I not broken my hip, I probably wouldn't be in the Team GB Paralympic football team."

Martin's path to the Olympics began when he signed up for a local disability team after then Plymouth Argyle boss Ian Holloway - Scott was on loan at Home Park - had given him a job on the club's community programme.

He starred for the team in his first season and soon attracted attention from the England management. It did not take him long to win his first cap and go on to establish himself on the international scene.

The culmination of years of hard work and dedication through incredibly difficult times comes next month - and there will no one more proud to see him take to the field wearing a Team GB shirt than his brother.

"I'm more proud of him (than he is of me). Definitely," said Scott. "He's been through so much in his life. Being misdiagnosed by the doctors then being in a wheelchair for three years after breaking his hip was a lot to go through.

"But he still managed to battle through it. He's had a tough time. And now he's here." Best of all, with his brother alongside him."

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