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Last Updated: Monday, 4 April, 2005, 15:15 GMT 16:15 UK
Marathon duo aim for repeat wins
Saul Mendoza on his way to victory in the 2004 race
Defending champions Saul Mendoza and Francesca Porcellato will bid to retain their titles in the London Marathon wheelchair race.

Mendoza, from Mexico, made a big impression 12 months ago, winning on his debut in London.

Italian Porcellato is aiming for a three-in-a-row in the women's race.

But they will face strong challenge from British duo David Weir, who was second last year, and six-times London winner Tanni Grey Thompson.

Since his victory last year in London, Mendoza finished second in the 800m wheelchair race at the Athens Olympics but won gold in the T54 1500m at the Paralympics.

He is third fastest on the world ranking list and last year clocked one hour 36.56 on his way to victory.

Porcellato won silver behind Grey Thompson in the T53 100m at the Paralympics and is hoping to become only the second athlete to gain three consecutive victories in the race, organised by Disability Sport England.

Tanni's last appearance on the winner's podium came in 2002, just three months after the birth of daughter Carys and will be one of the first Dames to compete in the race after being honoured in the New Year's Honours list.

Weir, who won the men's race in 2002, has finished second for the past two years behind Mendoza and Frenchman Joel Jeannot in 1993.

But he switched his attention to sprinting in the Athens Paralympics, winning silver in the T54 100m and bronze in the 200m and was also named London Disabled Sportsman of the Year.

Frenchman Denis Lemeunier, who won in 2001 and has also been second three times, will be a strong challenger while Canadian Jeff Adams, who was fifth last year after having two flat tyres will also be chasing success.

Britons Tushar Patel, who narrowly missed out on a place at the Paralympics and Kenny Herriot, who has only been racing since 2000, will be hoping for a good display on home soil.

Forty athletes have entered the men's race with eight competitors in the women's race.

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