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Paralympic sports - 31. August 2008.

GB heads back to Beijing


 
206 British athletes head back to Beijing in the next few days as
ParalympicsGB attempts to add to the glorious, recent gold haul of TeamGB
when the 2008 Paralympic Games takes place in the Chinese capital from
September 6-17.
 
Competing in 18 sports, the team will hope to finish in the top three with
China widely expected to top the medal table as hosts.
 
ParalympicsGB Chief Executive and Chef De Mission for Beijing, Phil Lane,
said from Beijing today: ³Our final preparations are being put in place and
our athletes are ready to prove themselves on the biggest sporting stage for
elite athletes with a disability.
 
³TeamGB¹s fantastic performances will inspire our athletes, I¹m sure, to win
medals for Britain and our athletes will now be looking to continue that
success through the Paralympic Games.²
 
Britain¹s sailors were the first to arrive in China, having been in Qingdao
since last Thursday. The rest of the British squads will then travel to the
Far East ­ many via the ParalympicsGB holding camps in Hong Kong and Macau ­
over the next week before transferring to the Paralympic Village in Beijing
ready for the opening ceremony on September 6.
 
The sport of rowing makes its Paralympic Games debut in 2008 and GB will be
represented in the football tournaments for the first time since 1992.
 
Among the squad for Beijing are several returning Paralympic champions
across the sports including archer John Cavanagh, 800m runner Danny Crates ­
just back from injury - swimmer Gareth Duke. And cyclists Darren Kenny and
Aileen McGlynn.
 
There are also several multi-Paralympic Games medallists aiming to add to
their personal medal hauls in Beijing, such as swimmer David Roberts, who
has the potential of winning five Paralympic golds to beat Tanni
Grey-Thompson¹s record of 11 and equestrian Lee Pearson, who has never been
beaten in a Paralympic Games.
 
Two former Paralympic swimming champions ­ Sarah Storey (nee Bailey) and
Jody Cundy ­ travel to Beijing for their Paralympic cycling debuts, with the
hopes of repeating their past form from the pool on the track in China.
 
The Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games opens on September 6 and closes on
September 17.
 
At the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games, Britain finished second in the medal
table with a total of 35 golds, 30 silver and 29 bronze medals. With
competitive standards continually rising and the dominant Chinese team
taking the home advantage ParalympicsGB recognises that the 2008 Paralympics
will be one of its biggest challenges yet.
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