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Page last updated at 14:02 GMT, Wednesday, 16 July 2008 15:02 UK

Edmunds targets Paralympic gold

Graham Edmunds
A lack of Olympic-size pools means Edmunds now trains in Swansea

Graham Edmunds is hoping his 4x100m freestyle relay swimming team strike gold again at the 2008 Paralympics.

The Great Britain foursome are the current Paralympic champions, world champions and world record holders.

Edmunds, a member of Reading Swimming Club, told BBC Radio Berkshire they have no intention of relinquishing their Olympic title.

"I definitely would like the relay to come out top of the world again this year," he said.

"With Athens, I was not really aware of what was going to be happening because it was my first one. Now, with Beijing, I know how big and important it is, and I actually want to do better.

The team will head to Beijing as favourites, given their formidable performances at the 2004 Paralympics and 2006 World Championships.

If I'd never done sport before and then had the accident I probably wouldn't be at this stage now.

Graham Edmunds

"We got world records on both of those occasions. In Athens, we were the first physically disabled team to go under four minutes - that was a massive landmark in the world of disability swimming.

"And then to go two years later to Durban and beat it by a further second or so was a massive achievement for all four of us."

Edmunds' life changed irrevocably in October 2000, when he was knocked off his bike while riding to work along the A4.

His injuries were so acute that doctors considered amputating both his legs.

"I came back in [to hospital] and they said to me, 'You're lucky because we nearly took both your legs off.' I felt very sick and that was probably the worst point in my life.

He attributes his recovery to sport.

"If an athlete has any kind of accident, where you end up losing the ability to move certain parts of your body, it's amazing how many guys come back into their own original sports.

"If I'd never done sport before and then had the accident I probably wouldn't be at this stage now. But because I've had that upbringing in my life, it was a natural progression and I wanted to get myself back to as normal as possible."

see also
Team GB for Beijing
29 Nov 07 |  Team GB
Swimming on the BBC
02 Oct 07 |  Swimming
Guide to synchro
02 Mar 06 |  Swimming

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