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29 Aug 2007

Members of the Disability Sport Wales Talent AcademyYoung Disability Academy athletes have made clear their steadfast ambition to reach London 2012, starting with an outstanding gold medal haul at the UK School Games in Coventry last weekend (23rd – 26th August).

Of the seven youngsters competing in ten athletic events on track and field, the team have set future benchmarks with seven gold medals, six personal bests and one IWAS U20 Junior World Record.

The athletes, including one swimmer, were plucked from the Disability Wales young Talent Academy, where directors have described being "blown away" by their performance.

Even more so since today (Wednesday 29 August) marks exactly five years to go to the start of the London 2012 Paralympic Games. At this time London and the whole of the UK will be the centre of the world’s attention as the opening ceremony gets underway in Stratford, London.

Mike Brace OBE, President of the British Paralympic Association, congratulates the performance in Wales:

"These performances bode well for Wales ahead of London 2012, and to set a new junior world record is just the icing on the cake. We will be looking for a high quantity of Welsh athletes to perform for Britain when London comes."

Chairman of the Sports Council for Wales, Philip Carling, highlights the importance of such a performance for Wales:

"Results this weekend have demonstrated the growing strength of disability sport in Wales, and the importance of our Talent Academy for developing athletes.

"A competition of this style is a benchmark for aspiring athletes to work towards, as well as providing experiences that may last for the rest of their athletic careers.

"Athletes have shown this weekend that we can continue to support GB teams in future Paralympic Games. We must ensure that a high percentage of the GB team will be Welsh, and that those athletes will be fully prepared and focused to take on the rest of the world."