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Paralympics bound athletes complete preparations

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Stephen Miller
Miller - new World record on eve of Paralympics

 

 

26 July 2008

 

 

 

Birmingham will be the launch-pad for Britain’s Paralympic Games campaign this weekend, as the city will play host to the complete ParalympicsGB team, just weeks before the team departs for Beijing. The Team Expo, Celebratory Dinner and Talent ID Day has been organised by ParalympicsGB in conjunction with Birmingham City Council and Brindleyplace.

 

ParalympicsGB has now confirmed the final list of 205 athletes selected to represent Britain at this summer’s Paralympic Games across 18 of the 20 Paralympic sports.

 

Paralympic Team addition

 

Kate Arnold has been named as replacement for Katherine Deal in the squad of 36 athletes. Nineteen year-old Arnold, from Newport, has made significant strides over the past two years, since her transfer from international swimming to athletics.  She will compete in both the T46 100m and 200m.

 

Katherine, 16 from St Albans, has withdrawn from the Games due to injury. It was decided that it in the interests of her long-term athletics career she should not to try and accelerate her return to competition in time for Beijing. She was due to compete in the T13 400m, 800m and 1500m.

 

World Record for Miller

 

Over the past week, there have been a number of promising performances including triple Paralympic Champion Stephen Miller’s new world record in the club discipline at the Cerebral Palsy National Championships. He threw 35.98m, adding a metre to his previous record of 34.93m. set in January 2007.

 

Miller was delighted to extend his own record ahead of Beijing. He is one of four reigning Paralympic Champions with his sights set on adding to his medal tally in the Bird’s Nest stadium. When he asked whether he felt any pressure looking ahead to Bejing, he said:

 

“Not yet! I’m not thinking that far ahead, just concentrating on training and working hard. I’m sure when I get to Beijing the nerves will start building. Being World No.1 for 12 years now, I’m used to having pressure whenever I compete. I will just try and perform to my best and hopefully my best will be enough to win.

 

Miller added: “I have lots of fantastic memories from the Games – going out into a packed stadium for the opening ceremony in Atlanta 1996, it was my first Paralympic Games and I was only 16. Enjoying a pint with my first coach Norman Burns on the night that I won in Sydney after signing autographs for an hour coming out of the stadium. Then breaking down in tears on the podium in Athens, realising what I had achieved.”

 

Miller has written an autobiography called ‘Paralympian’ which is available now, at this website - www.tontobooks.com/paralympian

 

Aviva London Grand Prix

 

At the Aviva London Grand Prix, Ben Rushgrove clocked another impressive time to equal his European Record in winning the T36/T37100m, whilst Dave Weir won the T54 1500m in front of a big home crowd and now fines tunes his preparations to compete over 5 events from 400m to the marathon in Beijing.

 

The Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games opens on September 6 and closes on September 17. To keep updated on the GB athletes’ progress, log on to www.ukathletics.net