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Last Updated: Monday, 19 December 2005, 15:10 GMT
Tanni to lead Wales in Melbourne
Tanni Grey Thompson
Dame Tanni Grey Thompson will captain the Wales team at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Australia.

Britain's greatest Paralympian will become the first elite athlete with a disability to skipper a national team.

"It just shows where Wales is in terms of disability sport and how supportive it is of people from all sporting backgrounds," she told BBC Wales Sport.

"I can't quiet believe it, but I'm really looking forward to it. It's going to be fantastic."

For the first time at any major sporting event, disability sports will be fully integrated into the Commonwealth Games programme in Melbourne.

Alongside Grey Thompson in the 800m, Wales will be sending four other athletes with a disability to Melbourne.

Cardiff's Julie Hamzah will contest the shot putt, Nathan Stephens of Bridgend the discus, while Beverley Jones (Queensferry) and Neville Bonfield (Pontypool) both go in the 100m sprint.

Grey Thompson finished fourth in the 800m race at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester three years ago.

The 36-year-old is expecting some more stiff competition for a medal next March.

"Women's wheelchair racing is a Commonwealth sport - that's where the best women in the world come from," said the 11-time Olympic gold medallist.

"So there's a lot of personal pressure, but there's a lot of pressure on the whole team to do well.

"It's lovely travelling as a Welsh team - there is something different about competing for Wales. It is a friendly games and there is a different team atmosphere.

"In the British team, there isn't the mixing between other sports that we get on Welsh level. I'm looking forward to having that for probably the last time in my career."

Wales won 33 medals at the last Commonwealth Games, which included six gold medals.

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