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Page last updated at 16:59 GMT, Monday, 8 September 2008 17:59 UK

Woods forced to give back medal

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Video - Watch the final stages of the T54 5000m

By Elizabeth Hudson
BBC Sport in Beijing

The International Paralympic Committee has ordered a re-run of Monday's women's wheelchair 5000m final after a dramatic crash on the penultimate lap.

Six of the 11 athletes in the field were left felled with Britain's Shelly Woods going on to win silver behind Canada's Diane Roy in the Bird's Nest.

Three countries protested against the result, and the athletes have been told to return their medals.

The race is now set to be rescheduled for Friday morning.

We're obviously hugely embarrassed that it happened because it reflects on the sport

Chris Cohen
International Paralympic Committee

According to an IPC spokesman, the countries involved - USA, Switzerland and Australia - all appealed different elements of the race.

A jury of appeal made the decision to overturn the result and order a re-run of the race and under the rules of the IAAF, the decision cannot be overturned.

Chris Cohen, head of athletics at the IPC, said the world governing body is embarrassed by the affair.

"It was disastrous. We're obviously hugely embarrassed that it happened because it reflects on the sport," he told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"We're very concerned for the athletes because they went through the process of seeing the flag fly and the national anthem played and all the wonderful things that go with it.

"Then suddenly they're told they didn't win a medal and they've got to go through it all again."

The race drama unfolded just before the bell when Switzerland's Edith Hunkeler appeared to run into team-mate Sandra Graf and the ensuing chaos left the athletes, including Hunkeler, on the ground.

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Tanni explains IPC re-run ruling

However, with 50m to go, the remaining athletes were impeded by a judge rushing onto the track to aid the stricken athletes.

Woods had kept her nerve amid all the chaos to finish second to Roy, with Amanda McGrory of the USA back in third.

The 22-year-old from Blackpool had been towards the back of the field at the time of the initial incident and was relived not to have been involved.

She told BBC Sport after the race: "When the crash happened I had moved on the outside but I was at the back of the pack and was trying to get around someone.

606: DEBATE

"It all happened so fast in front of me that I had to move my chair over quickly and from there it was just a race to the line.

Former Paralympic champion Tanni Grey-Thompson, who is working for BBC Sport in Beijing, said that the decision to take back the medals was cruel on Woods, as well as Roy and McGrory.

"If the girls had been told before the medal ceremony, they might have been more amenable to the race being run again," she said.

"Serious crashes like that don't happen too often and it is unusual for races to be re-run but it is tough on the girls who have won the medals."



see also
Simmonds makes history with gold
08 Sep 08 |  Paralympics
Duo take GB's fourth cycling gold
08 Sep 08 |  Paralympics
A-Z of Paralympic classification
28 Aug 08 |  Paralympics
Paralympics on the BBC
25 Aug 08 |  Paralympics
GB Paralympic team for Beijing
24 Jul 08 |  Paralympics


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