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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 September, 2004, 14:06 GMT 15:06 UK
GB hail Athens success
By Elizabeth Hudson
BBC Sport in Athens

Tanni Grey Thompson became GB's greatest Paralympian with 11 golds
Great Britain chiefs have proclaimed the Paralympics in Athens as a success after another superb medal haul.

Team GB finished second in the table behind China with 94 medals, including 35 golds, which was the target set by British Paralympic boss Phil Lane.

"We have certainly hit our targets and done well across the board with medals in 11 sports," he said.

"We have also maintained our overall position and a number of our first-time Paralympians picked up medals."

But with China, who host the next Paralympics in Beijing in four years time, looking strong, Lane knows the squad cannot rest on its laurels.

The competition was very tough - tougher than what we expected
Tim Reddish
GB swimming director
"We knew the Chinese had brought a large delegation and their overall performance was excellent and has really thrown down the gauntlet for Beijing," he said.

"I'm optimistic about the future but our preparations for Beijing are crucial if we are to give a good account of ourselves there," he said.

Swimming led the Team GB medal run with 52 medals, including 16 golds and performance director Tim Reddish was happy with his sport's haul despite bringing a smaller squad than four years ago in Sydney.

"The competition was very tough - tougher than what we expected," he admitted.

"We wanted to get more golds than we did in Sydney but it was the final race in the pool - the women's 4x50m 20 point medley team - which sealed the victory which brought us ahead of the Sydney total.

"There are a lot more nations challenging for medals now but we put in a very good team performance and everyone put a lot of hard work in."

Tanni Grey Thompson, who became Britain's most successful Paralympian after winning her 11th gold at the Games, is also aware that a lot of work lies ahead to carry on the progress in Beijing.

"One of our priorities across all sports must be to get the young talent through.

These Games have been a good opportunity for us to increase our awareness of the bigger picture because if we lose that focus, we will be left behind.

"In athletics, there has been a big jump between the standards we saw at the IPC World Championships in Lille two years ago and what we saw here and it is a useful learning curve.

"For athletes to be part of the team in Beijing, they have to put the work in over the next two years."




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