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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 May 2007, 09:40 GMT 10:40 UK
Steve Cram column
Steve Cram
By Steve Cram
BBC Sport commentator

There's plenty to look forward to at this week's Paralympic World Cup but Tanni Grey-Thompson's final appearance before retirement is likely to dominate the headlines - and rightly so.

I've known Tanni since the early 1990s when we met doing a fund-raising relay for Children In Need and I've seen her quite a bit just recently.

She's looking forward to competing in Manchester, although it will be both a happy and sad occasion for her.

Tanni Grey Thompson
Tanni Grey-Thompson has won 11 Paralympic gold medals

I know she's a bit worried about how she is going to perform on Sunday. I don't think training has been her main priority since she's started to wind things down.

But one thing's for sure, she'll get a great send-off and it'll be a great platform for her on which to bow out.

Tanni is a genuine icon for disability sport.

Every sport needs a standard-bearer to help sell it to the wider audience and we've had other Paralympians who have been successful.

But not on the scale of Tanni.

What Sir Steve Redgrave did for rowing, Tanni has done for the whole Paralympic movement, and I don't think we'll see anyone who will be able to make that sort of impact again.

Of course, there will are other Britons who could shine in Manchester, like David Weir and Shelly Woods.

One of the interesting things about wheelchair racing is that competitors often do a whole range of events - from long-distance races to the 100m.

And just a couple of weeks after winning their respective races at the London Marathon, David and Shelly are both in action in much shorter track events.

It's important for the Paralympic World Cup to have the best-known British Paralympians there and hopefully both David and Shelly will come away with victories.

I'll also be keeping an eye out for Danny Crates in the 800m. I know Danny quite well and he's a fantastic athlete.

He's been struggling with injury this winter and I know he's not as fit as he'd like to be, but he's worked hard on getting himself back into shape.

Danny, who lost his right arm in a car accident, is one of the increasing number of Paralympians competing in able-bodied athletics.

He famously almost made the final of the AAAs 800m a couple of years ago.

Oscar Pistorius
South African Oscar Pistorius wants to run in the Olympics

There's an ongoing debate about the issue of disabled and able-bodied athletes competing alongside each other.

South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius, one of the most high-profile disability sport athletes in the world, is keen to compete at the Olympics.

The IAAF, however, are adamant he won't be allowed to.

That's because Oscar, who had to have his legs amputated below the knee as a very young child, uses carbon-fibre prosthetics known as "blades" to run in.

The IAAF view those blades as technical aids and argue he gets an advantage from using them.

Oscar, who will be competing in Manchester, insists that's not the case, but I don't think anybody knows whether there is any advantage being gained or not.

The blades are curved in such a way to maximise his agility but they're not disproportionate in size in terms of his leg length.

Steve Cram will present live coverage from the Paralympic World Cup on Sunday 13 May on BBC Two from 1545-1745 BST.

SEE ALSO
GB unveil strong World Cup team
23 Apr 07 |  Disability Sport
Grey Thompson confirms retirement
28 Feb 07 |  Disability Sport


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