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Page last updated at 09:27 GMT, Monday, 6 July 2009 10:27 UK

Stuart seeks Global Games glory

By Elizabeth Hudson

Scottish athlete Allan Stuart
Stuart is a former British Under 23 champion over 400m

Scottish athlete Allan Stuart knows a good performance at this week's Global Games could help him take a big step towards the London 2012 Paralympics.

The event, for athletes with an intellectual disability, starts on Tuesday in the Czech Republic.

Those athletes are currently barred from taking part in Paralympic Games.

"It has been a frustrating situation and the Global Games are important for us to show that we deserve to be at a Paralympics," Stuart told BBC Sport.

A team of 25 British competitors at the Global Games, which was organised as a substitute for the Paralympics, will be hoping to show that they can make a positive impact and enjoy success at 2012.

Stuart, 27, competed at the 2000 Paralympics, winning silver, but the row over intellectual disability erupted at the Games when it was found that most of the members of the victorious Spanish basketball team were not disabled.

The Global Games are special but sometimes I feel it is like second prize compared to a Paralympics

Allan Stuart

Since then, athletes have been banned from competing at the Athens and Beijing Paralympics.

Currently the International Sports Federation for Persons with an Intellectual Disability (Inas-Fid) is working with the International Paralympic Committee to see how and when athletes can be re-included in IPC events, especially London 2012.

A joint action plan has been formulated to work on the issues of eligibility, sport specificity and on-site protests and appeals and a decision on re-inclusion in London 2012 is expected at the November 2009 IPC general assembly.

In October, seven British swimmers will compete at the IPC Championships in Iceland - the first IPC event at which athletes with intellectual disabilities have been permitted to compete since the ban, which is a significant step forward.

Stuart added: "Having competed in Sydney, it has hurt me a lot not to have been able to compete at a Paralympics since then.

"I'd really like to get one last Paralympics in so I can try to win the gold medal which I missed out on in Sydney. For it to be in London would be particularly special.

"I don't want to get my hopes up about our chances of competing in London because I've been disappointed before.

"My family and coach have helped me to keep me going over the last nine years and there is also the gold medal that has escaped me.

"The Global Games are special when you get out there and you realise what you have to do but sometimes I feel it is like second prize compared to a Paralympics."

Stuart is part of an eight-person athletics team and will be hoping to continue his dominance over 200 and 400m where he is the world record holder and a former British Under-23 champion and Scottish National champion but he admits injury has hampered his build-up to this competition.

"I'll only how well I'm running when I get out there," he said. "With the training I've done I don't think I should get the gold but my coach thinks I am capable of it.

"But I haven't competed in a race longer than 250m since November because of a combination of hamstring and back injury and work.

"I'm confident of coming away with a medal but this time I don't know what colour."

Former Olympian and Commonwealth Games medallist Verona Elder, who is the Chef de Mission for the team, believes that the British team can achieve success at the Games.

"I am confident that we have a strong team of 25 athletes who will compete to a high level," she said. "I am as proud of managing this team as I was of managing the Great Britain Olympic team.

"This is a particularly important event for our athletes as they showcase their ability, and also as it is another step in moving towards inclusion in London 2012".


GB TEAM

Swimming: Dan Pepper (Poynton), Ben Procter (Newquay) Nick Boylan (Ashford), Craig Moate (Barking), Craig Rodgie (Fife) Matthew Bell (Newtownards), Jack Thomas (Swansea), Stephanie Bird (Lowestoft)

Table tennis: Neil Handley (Rochdale), Alistair Feltham (Bournemouth), Duncan Feltham (Bournemouth), Jeffrey Jarvis (Melton Mowbray), Adam Thompson (Sale), Victoria Bromley (Wolverhampton), Jacqueline Smith (Chelmsford), Jessica Bromley (Wolverhampton)

Cycling: Scott Walker (Inverurie)

Athletics: Allan Stuart (Glasgow), Neill Collins (Rainham), James Simpson (Ulverston), Andrew Kaar (Solihull), James Shaw (Tameside), Monique Davis (Croydon), Claire Ryan (Bradford), Abbie Greetham (Halifax)



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see also
Paralympics to alter entry policy
13 Sep 08 |  Disability Sport
Paralympic row remains unresolved
27 Jun 06 |  Disability Sport
GB swimmers claim world success
13 Sep 05 |  Disability Sport
Spain ordered to return golds
14 Dec 00 |  Other Sports
A-Z of Paralympic classification
28 Aug 08 |  Disability Sport
Disability Sport on the BBC
02 Nov 09 |  Disability Sport


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