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PARALYMPIANS PREPARE FOR LANDMARK EVENT

10 May 2005

ATHLETICS - SUNDAY 15TH MAY

MANCHESTER REGIONAL ARENA

Tanni Grey Thompson

Athletes from 41 different countries line up for starters’ orders on Sunday as the pistol fires on a packed athletics programme. While athletes from all the major Paralympic nations will be in attendance, the star attraction is Wales’ own Tanni Grey Thompson.

The recently crowned Dame is Britain's best-known Paralympic athlete, having performed at world-class level for the past thirteen years, in distances ranging from 100m to the marathon.

Tanni will be competing ferociously in the inaugural event, looking to add a Paralympic World Cup title to her extraordinary CV. To date she has won 16 Paralympic medals from five games, 11 of which are gold, six London Marathon titles, third place in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2000, and BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year three times.

Taking to the track for the 100m and 400m, Tanni faces a showdown against athletes from America, Australia and Italy, as they each fight it out to be first past the post.

With the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games looming, the World Cup offers the perfect warm-up for the Cardiff-born star. Always proud to pull on the red vest for Wales, Tanni has her eye firmly fixed on winning more medals down under.

SWIMMING - SATURDAY 14 MAY

MANCHESTER AQUATICS CENTRE

Nyree Lewis

With two successful Paralympic games to her name, all eyes will be on Nyree as she takes to the water at the aquatics centre in Manchester this Sunday. Racing for gold in the 200m Individual Medley and 100m backstroke, she is looking to add two new titles to her vast collection.

Her race rivals will no doubt fear the multiple medallist, who boasts seven Paralympic medals, not to mention rich rewards from European and World Championships. At the Sydney Paralympics she won a hat-trick of medals – one silver and two bronze medals, but it was in Athens where she truly came of age, walking away with two gold, two silver and a bronze.

Nyree – from Porth, but living in Manchester – started swimming at the age of five and competed at small disability galas in South Wales where she became British champion at seven years old.

It wasn't until 1993 that the 24-year-old became an international swimmer. It was the Rotary International in Ayr, Scotland where she won gold in the 50m breaststroke for class SB6 competing for Wales. In 1999, she made her debut for the British team where she was selected for the European Championships in Germany – she picked up a silver medal in the 200 individual medley and a bronze in the 100m backstroke.