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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 May 2005, 17:04 GMT 18:04 UK
Manchester's sporting spectacle
Wheelchair basketball at the Paralympic World CupTrack cycling at the Paralympic World CupSwimming at the Paralympic World CupAthletics at the Paralympic World Cup The world's top disabled athletes headed to Manchester for four days of elite action at the Paralympic World Cup in May.

The inaugural event featured over 350 athletes from 46 countries and showcased the best in Paralympic sport.

Among those taking part were British wheelchair racer Tanni Grey Thompson, swimmer Natalie du Toit and fellow South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius.

BBC Sport gives the lowdown all the action and highlights from Manchester.

Events: Men and women's team
12-15 May
Venue: Amaechi Centre
Men's teams: Australia, Great Britain, Germany, Netherlands
Women's teams: France, Great Britain, Spain, Sweden

Wheelchair basketball

In the men's tournament, Paralympic silver medallists Australia and Great Britain - who won bronze in Athens - met in a fitting finale to the four-day competition.

Terry Bywater's three-pointer from the halfway line to force overtime and Ade Adepitan's subsequent free throw winner allowed GB to clinch a dramatic 58-57 victory over their arch rivals.

But GB could not halt the march of powerhouses France in the women's contest as they lost 55-34 in the final.

Wheelchair basketball is, without a doubt, one of the most popular and watched events in disability sport.

Teams are made up of five athletes, whose aim is to score in the opponents' basket and prevent the opposing team from scoring but, as the name suggests, players must be in wheelchairs, which has given the sport its own unique style.

All athletes are given a rating of between 0.5 and 4.5 points, based on their mobility and functionality.

The highest rate is given to the player with the least physical limitation and, during the game, the total rate of the players on the court must not exceed 14.5 points.

Events: Sprint, kilo (time trial), pursuit
13 May 1900-2200 BST
Venue: Manchester Velodrome
Categories: Cerebral palsy (CP), visually impaired (B/VI), locomotor deficiencies (LC)

Track cycling

Paralympic gold-winning tandem duo Aileen McGlynn and sighted pilot Ellen Hunter, as well as Darren Kenny shined as eight world records tumbled at the Velodrome.

Track racing is very much speed and exhilaration at its purest as the bikes have no brakes and are controlled by a "fixed" wheel system, which means riders cannot freewheel.

Athletes compete on tandem bikes - which are usually crewed by an able-bodied "pilot" and a visually impaired "stoker" - or solo bikes in three disciplines: Sprint, kilo and pursuit.

The sprint is a head-to-head race between pairs of riders - or tandems - over three laps, while the kilo is simply a time trial from a standing start over 1000m - four laps of a 250m track.

The pursuit is ridden over 2,000, 3,000 or 4,000m with riders - usually in pairs - attempting to catch their opponents which start from the opposite side.

Athletes with partial or total vision impairment, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injuries, amputees or any other disabilities can participate.

Events: Individual medley, butterfly, backstroke, freestyle, breaststroke
14 May 1000-1700 BST
Venue: Manchester Aquatics Centre
Categories: Physical disabilities (1-10), visually impaired (11-13), multi-disability events (MD)


In the pool, all eyes were on Natalie du Toit who smashed four world records on her way to three victories, while home favourites Natalie Jones, Nyree Lewis, Jim Anderson and Sascha Kindred dominated their events.

Highly competitive and a thrilling spectacle, swimming has been a Paralympic event since 1960.

Manchester 2005 saw swimmers from 28 countries go head-to-head in five different disciplines: Individual medley, butterfly, backstroke, freestyle and breaststroke.

Swimming is divided into 13 categories, ranging from severe (S1, SB1, SM1) to minimal physical disability (S10, SB9, SM10), while visually-impaired athletes race in classes 11-13.

The classes starting with an S are for freestyle, backstroke and butterfly, the classes SB are for breaststroke and the classes SM for individual medley.

So, for example an SM10 classification means the race for swimmers with minimal physical disabilities in the individual medley.

There were also four multi-disability races, where the best athletes from any category compete in the same race but the winner is not necessarily the first to finish.

Victory is decided by who comes closest to or improves most on their disability category's world record.

Events: 24 selected disciplines
15 May 1200-1500 BST
Venue: Manchester Regional Arena
Categories: Visually impaired, cerebral palsy, amputees and les autres, wheelchair, dwarfism


Tanni Grey Thompson may be the face of British disability sport, but it was the range of international stars, such as Oscar Pistorius and Chantal Petitclerc, that made sure Manchester was a top-class competition.

Pistorius' blistering victories in the T44 100m and 200m gave some hint of the teenage double amputee's chances of competing against able-bodied opponents at Beijing 2008.

Petitclerc showed why she won five gold medals at last year's Games, storming home in the T54 200m and 800m against many of her Athens rivals.

Fellow wheelchair racer and 11-time Paralympic gold medallist Grey Thompson gave the home crowd plenty to cheer about with T53 100m and 400m wins.

The blue riband event of disability sport, athletics provided a showcase of the top talents in sprinting, distance running, throwing and jumping events.

Some compete in wheelchairs, others with prostheses (artificial limbs), and visually impaired and blind athletes compete with the help of a guide.

Athletes with cerebral palsy are classified in categories 32 to 38, with 32-34 covering athletes competing in a wheelchair, and 35-38 in an upright standing position.

Wheelchair competitors with spinal cord injuries or other physical disabilities, except for cerebral palsy, are classified according to their mobility in classes 51 to 54 for track events and 51 to 58 for throwing events.

Athletes with vision impairment and blind athletes are classified as 11, 12 and 13, while amputees and other athletes competing in a standing position, are classified from 42 to 46.

Participants with dwarfism take part in only throwing events, in class 40.

Interviews: Basketball final post-match reaction.

Interview: British cycling's Darren Kenny and performance coach Dave Mellor

Interviews: British swimmers Nathalie Jones, Nyree Lweis & Elizabeth Johnson

Interview: South Africa's Oscar Pistorius

Interview: South Africa star Natalie du Toit

Paralympic World Cup diary: Day four
14 May 05 |  Disability Sport
Paralympic World Cup diary - day three
14 May 05 |  Disability Sport
Paralympic World Cup diary - day two
13 May 05 |  Disability Sport
Paralympic World Cup diary - day one
12 May 05 |  Disability Sport
Paralympic World Cup results
22 May 05 |  Disability Sport
Athletes praise World Cup success
16 May 05 |  Disability Sport


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