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Page last updated at 14:12 GMT, Tuesday, 19 May 2009 15:12 UK

Paralympians ready for World Cup

Venue: Manchester Dates: 20-25 May Coverage: Live on BBC Two, 1500-1715 BST, Monday 25 May; Daily reports on the BBC Sport website

Paralympic champions Oscar Pistorius and Ellie Simmonds
Oscar Pistorius and Ellie Simmonds will be among those in action

Over 400 of the world's top Paralympic stars will be in Manchester this week for the fifth BT Paralympic World Cup.

The competition, which begins on Wednesday 20 May and runs until Monday, features wheelchair basketball, swimming, track cycling and athletics.

Among those taking part are the South African duo of swimmer Natalie du Toit and Oscar 'Blade Runner' Pistorius.

There is also a strong British team, including teenage swimming star Ellie Simmonds and cycling ace Darren Kenny.

The competition, which includes athletes from 40 countries, takes place at a number of venues across the city, and BBC Two will have live coverage from the Manchester Aquatic Centre on Monday.

London 2012 chairman Lord Coe said the event was an important one in the build-up to the next Paralympic Games.

The Paralympic World Cup provides a significant stepping stone for many athletes aiming to compete in London and beyond

London 2012 chairman Lord Coe

"The Paralympic World Cup provides a significant stepping stone for many athletes aiming to compete in London and beyond," he said.

"It is a place where they can raise their game and test themselves against strong international opposition, providing vital preparation but also a great sporting spectacle along the way."

The event begins with wheelchair basketball group games on Wednesday, and GB's men, who won bronze in Beijing, will face Paralympic champions Australia, the USA, who were fourth, and fifth-placed Germany.

The women will be up against the Netherlands, China and Mexico.

The men face a tough challenge with three of their leading players - Simon Munn, Jon Pollock and Terry Bywater - unavailable, while captain Ademola Orogbemi is absent after being imprisoned for benefit fraud.

It gives newcomers like Ghaz Choudhry, Matt Rollston, Matt Sealy and Lee Fawcett a chance to stake their claim for a regular place in coach Murray Treseder's squad.

Australia include eight of the team who helped them beat Canada to the Paralympic crown while the USA will field the team that is preparing for the World Under-23 Championships later this year.

Darren Kenny, Jody Cundy and Mark Bristow
Darren Kenny, Jody Cundy and Mark Bristow will be hoping for more success

The GB women will hope newcomers Maddy Thompson and Judith Hamer can support the more experienced players as they start their road to 2012.

The bulk of the cycling events begin in the Manchester Velodrome on Thursday and the GB team will aim to continue the dominance they enjoyed in Beijing, where they topped the medal table.

Darren Kenny, who won four golds and a silver in Beijing, will take on team-mates Simon Richardson and Rik Waddon in the LC3/CP3 1km time trial and 3km pursuit events.

Jody Cundy, who won two golds in Beijing, will compete in the LC1/LC2 1km time trial event alongside fellow double Paralympic champion Mark Bristow and the pair will team up with Kenny and Waddon for the team sprint.

Former swimmer Sarah Storey will take on her rivals in the 500m time trial and the 3km pursuit.

Paralympic tandem champion Anthony Kappes will link up with new pilot and former Olympian Jason Queally in a special exhibition event while Kappes's former partner Barney Storey will ride with ex-judo star Simon Jackson.

There is also a new look in the women's tandem events with Paralympian Aileen McGlynn riding with fellow Scot Vicky Begg.


Double Paralympic gold medallist David Weir heads the British team for Sunday's track and field events at the Regional Arena.

The London Marathon runner-up will be competing in the T54 800m and 1500m.

But there will also be plenty of interest in Pistorius, who is back to fitness after a boating accident earlier in the year.

The 22-year-old South African, who was born without fibulas and runs with carbon fibre blades, will make his first start of the season in the T44 100m and 400m.

Simmonds will be the star of the show at Monday's swimming events after the teenager won two Paralympic gold medals and will again take on her rivals in the S6 100m freestyle, one of the events where she triumphed in Beijing.

Du Toit, who competed in the open water event at the Olympics before winning five golds at the Paralympics, will be the favourite for the S9 100m freestyle.

Other Britons in action include David Roberts, who won four golds in Beijing to equal Dame Tanni Grey Thompson's record of 11 Paralympic golds, and who will be up against fellow Briton Matt Walker.

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see also
Weir set to compete in Manchester
29 Apr 09 |  Disability Sport
Simmonds heads GB swimming team
17 Apr 09 |  Disability Sport
Tandem star to try out new pilot
14 Apr 09 |  Disability Sport
Seven stars in GB basketball side
07 Apr 09 |  Disability Sport
A-Z of Paralympic classification
28 Aug 08 |  Disability Sport
Disability Sport on the BBC
02 Nov 09 |  Disability Sport

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