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Breakfast with Frost Sunday, 21 July, 2002, 14:44 GMT 15:44 UK
Kelly Holmes, athlete and Steve Parry, swimmer
Kelly Holmes, athlete
Kelly Holmes, athlete

Please note "BBC Breakfast with Frost" must be credited if any part of this transcript is used

PETER SISSONS: Now the Commonwealth Games in Manchester begin on Thursday, 72 countries will be taking part in what will be the biggest multi-sport event ever to be staged in the UK. There'll be extensive coverage on BBC Television including reports on the next two Sunday mornings which means we'll be off the air for the next fortnight. In a moment I'll be speaking to two of the athletes competing in the games but first our correspondent Dominic Cotton reports.


PETER SISSONS: And I'm now joined in the studio by the athlete Kelly Holmes and from our Nottingham studio by the swimmer Steve Parry. Let me ask you both first, starting with Kelly, your overview of the Games, a magnificent event in prospect?

KELLY HOLMES: Definitely, I think it's one of the first times in a long time that has had a Games like this, it's going to take over the screens I think, like the Olympics did, and for us as competitors being on home turf, I mean it's really special.


STEVE PARRY: Oh absolutely, well and truly looking forward to it, we've got a home games and hopefully that will really help us in our, in our preparation.

PETER SISSONS: Now have you seen the swimming facilities, this new 32 million aquatic centre?

STEVE PARRY: Well actually Peter I see it quite frequently, I train there every day.


STEVE PARRY: So that's, I'm well used to the environment and looking forward to competing there.

PETER SISSONS: And the prospects for the home teams, you know England, Scotland and Wales, in your, in your department Steve who are, who are the people to watch?

STEVE PARRY: Well obviously Mark Foster the world record holder short course, he's actually won the last two Commonwealth Games, and also James Hickman in my event, is four time world champion, so unfortunately I'll have to get back, past him if I'm going to win. But there's many, many people who have been working really hard since the Olympics which was our low point and I think we've really turned things round.

PETER SISSONS: Kelly you've had a struggle in the past, an injury, you ran in the '96 Olympics with a stress fracture, can, can anything go wrong in Manchester? You're in good shape?

KELLY HOLMES: I am in good shape, I never predict anything anymore, I've had a lot of injuries in my career but you know I'm focusing on the future and hopefully have a successful games.

PETER SISSONS: I read you're currently in the longest period without injury, I mean who gets the credit for that?

KELLY HOLMES: I've worked with quite a few different people and Gerard Hartman from Ireland has been a great influence in getting me back to form. A lady called Benita Duwitt from South Africa where I go training, she's actually been helping me for the last year and a half and has kept me maintained and balanced and injury free so.

PETER SISSONS: Why are you racing in the 1500m when your Olympic medal was at 800?

KELLY HOLMES: I actually feel I'm better at 1500m anyway, over the past two or three years I've done 800m purely because of the injury problems and I haven't been able to do the endurance work in the background. The 1500m to me at the moment is...

PETER SISSONS: There you are.

KELLY HOLMES: That's me, really pleased as you can see and you know I like both events and people always ask me each year, you know what am I best at and I really don't know, it's whenever I'm competing and enjoying the most.

PETER SISSONS: Steve you had a disappointing Olympics in Sydney, what's changed for you since then?

STEVE PARRY: Well I mean coming off the back of the Olympics it was hard to adjust to that disappointment, as you say, but I've just really knuckled down and look forward to a Manchester Games. I was, I was born in Liverpool and as I say I train in Manchester, so well and truly a north-west boy and I'm just, just looking forward to a good performance there.

PETER SISSONS: But what motivates you, is it, is it gold or just to do your personal best?

STEVE PARRY: No, no, I think definitely in a games situation it's certainly the gold medals, that's all that counts, that's all we look forward to and we just want to be first past the post or to the wall as it is.

PETER SISSONS: And the main rivals are the Australians, yes?

STEVE PARRY: Yeah absolutely, I've got a couple of scores to settle there, at the Olympic Games Justin Norris the Australian won the bronze medal and in the process broke my Commonwealth record so I'm looking forward to settling that score but the Australians have really said that they're going to come over and win every medal...

PETER SISSONS: Well they have been talking England up a bit, haven't they, they've been saying we have the home advantage and you should do well, will you take that with a pinch of salt?

STEVE PARRY: Well I'm not sure if they have been saying that in the pool, they're certainly the best in the pool and they have said they're going to win every gold medal but we're going to do our best to stop them.

PETER SISSONS: And Kelly what's the state of the English athletics at the moment?

KELLY HOLMES: It's very strong, very, very positive, we've had a great influx of younger athletes coming through and that's been really positive for our sport. I think that this year because it's split into nations obviously being the Commonwealth we're actually going to see a lot of medals happening through the whole of Great Britain as a team and I think athletics has been our number one sport in the country really for a long, long time. We're going to do well.

PETER SISSONS: Yes, do you expect the usual headlines at some stage in the games about someone failing a drugs test?

KELLY HOLMES: Well you can never predict that there isn't going to have a headline of that sort and you know unfortunately things like that have happened and there are still cheats in our sport but there are also innocent people that are getting done for different reasons as well. So I hope that it doesn't tarnish the games and that the games will be great.

PETER SISSONS: Steve funding has been an issue in the past, for you particularly because you had to quit Merseyside because I gather there weren't the resources there for you, is the situation any better with lottery money and extra government funding?

STEVE PARRY: Oh absolutely a hundred per cent, since the lottery came in in 1997 we've just been able to keep all our best sportsmen in the sport at subsistence level and I mean in order to be the best in the country you have to attain a certain level and that improves your ranking in the world.

PETER SISSONS: Steve Parry, Kelly Holmes thank you very much for being with us this morning and the very best of luck to the both of you.

KELLY HOLMES: Thank you very much.


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