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The biggest Paralympics Games in history opens with a bang in London led by renowned physicist Stephen Hawking. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PHYSICIST STEPHEN HAWKING'S COMPUTERISED VOICE SAYING: "Ever since the dawn of civilisation people have craved for an understanding of the underlying order of the world, why it is as it is and why it exists at all." More than 4,200 athletes from 160 nations will take part in the 11 day games - including double amputee, South Africa's "Blade Runner" - Oscar Pistorius. The night was also about hope. An estimated 80,000 spectators filled the Olympic Stadium, while millions watched around the world. Organizers say 2.4 million of the 2.5 million tickets have already been sold, showing a shift in popularity for the Paralympics, which began with just 400 athletes at the Rome Games in 1960. [SOUNDBITE] {English) QUEEN ELIZABETH SAYING: "I declare open the London 2012 Paralympic Games."