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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 September, 2004, 21:01 GMT 22:01 UK
Brits on form in Athens
By Elizabeth Hudson
BBC Sport in Athens

(L-R) Nyree Lewis, Maggie McEleny, Natalie Jones and Jane Stidever of Great Britain celebrate gold medal win in the Womens 4 x 50m medley - 20 Pts Final

As the 12th Paralympic Games drew to a close on Tuesday, there were pats on the back all round in the British team.

Bronze on the final day for the men's wheelchair basketball team took Team GB's overall medal tally to 94, including 35 golds.

Although it was not quite the 131-medal tally they achieved at the last Games, Britain still finished runners-up - just as they had in Sydney four years ago.

More importantly, targets had been met in the face of increasing competition from emerging disabled sport nations.

In particular, China - sixth on medal table in Sydney, topped the standings in Athens, clearly making their mark ahead of Beijing in four years time.

Certainly, Britain's swimming team were the key force behind the medal haul in Greece.

The squad came away with a huge haul of 52 medals out of the total GB medal tally of 94 - including 16 golds.

It was a marvellous achievement by a smaller team than that which won 62 medals in Sydney four years ago and managed to beat the target of 15 golds set by their Performance Director Tim Reddish.

Pride of place must go to Scot Jim Anderson and David Roberts from Swansea, who both finished with four golds apiece.

Where swimming proved very successful, athletics was less so this time around with only 17 medals compared to 48 in Sydney.

Just three golds were won on the track - two for Tanni Grey Thompson (T53 100m and 400m) and Danny Crates (T46 800m).

But in the field, both Stephen Miller and Ken Churchill retained their club and javelin titles respectively while Dan Greaves went one better than four years ago in the F44/46 discus.

Equestrian was one of the most successful sports for Team GB in Sydney and once again, they dominated proceedings in Athens.

Lee Pearson and Debbie Criddle led the way, winning three golds each (two individual and one team) - Pearson matching his achievement of Athens, and GB have now won three team golds in a row in the event.

Peter Norfolk showed no ill effects of a shoulder injury over the summer as he swept aside world number two David Wagner in straight sets for gold and GB's first Paralympic tennis medal in the inaugural quad tournament.

Elsewhere, cycling immediately made its presence felt when both Aileen McGlynn and her pilot Ellen Hunter and Bournemouth man Darren Kenny landed golds in their 1km time trial races on the first day.

Kenny later landed a second gold in the individual pursuit and a silver in the combined time trial and road race.

McGlynn and Hunter were then second in the open sprint while Hunter's husband Paul, the pilot to Ian Sharpe, helped them to two bronzes in their individual pursuit and 1km time trial.

The men's wheelchair basketball team were tipped by many people as gold medal contenders prior to Athens but were still happy with bronze, going one better than in Sydney.

In judo, Simon Jackson failed to add to his tally after a controversial refereeing decision in one of his bouts but Ian Rose, in his fourth Paralympics, managed silver in the 100kg+ category.

Both Emma Brown (powerlifting) and Isabel Newstead (shooting) retained their Paralympic titles while the archery team were celebrating on the double.

John Cavanagh won the men's individual W1 while Anita Chapman, Maggie Parker and Kathy Smith triumphed in the women's open team competition.


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