24 August 2012
Stephen Miller (coach: Ros Miller) and Tracey Hinton (guide runner: Steff Hughes) - who have the combined experience of nine Paralympic Games between them - were last night introduced to the ParalympicsGB track and field team as their captains for the London 2012 Games.
“Ever since it was announced that London would host the 2012 Paralympic Games is has been my ambition - and become my obsession - to represent ParalympicsGB in this Home Games,” said sprinter Hinton, a multiple medallist in the T11 visually impaired category since her debut in Barcelona in 1992. “It’s hard to believe that some of you were only seven or eight when we found out that London would be the host city, but now it’s congratulations to all of you for being selected.
“After five Games there were times when I thought the door was closing on this opportunity for me, but we’ve all had our ups and downs; we’ve all jumped with joy and buried our faces in our hands.
“We all have our own individual dreams,” she continued. “An athlete with no dreams is an athlete with no ambitions. It only takes one run, one jump, one throw...if we can leave the stadium and know that we’ve competed to the best of our ability then it’s a job well done. For some that’s a World Record, for some it’s a medal and for some it’s a personal best. Don’t let the voices in your head haunt you or have regrets, because another four year will pass until you can put it right.
“The nation will get behind us whether we win or lose, but let’s give them something to shout about; let’s inspire a new generation of athletes like Mo and Jess did during the Olympics; get out there and create your own memories. You only get one life, one chance, so live it.”
The 48-strong ParalympicsGB athletics team includes 28 first time Paralympians. The overall medal target is to finish in the top eight of the medal table, compared to an 18th place finish in Beijing in 2008, and to win around 23 medals, including five to eight gold.
“The reason we were so good in New Zealand (where the team finished third in the medal table) was because we communicated, we talked to one another, supported one another, and we were well prepared,” explained Head Coach Peter Eriksson as he opened the team meeting alongside special guest Christine Ohuruogu, Olympic 400m silver medallist. “There is no reason that we can’t succeed this time. Many of you were medallists in New Zealand at the Worlds and my question to you is this: are you willing to give up that medal?
“When I started this job I really wanted to do something better and now we’re really doing things better. This is the best team, and best staff, I’ve ever worked with. I’m proud to lead this team, it’s an honour for me, and it is an opportunity of a lifetime for all of us.”
Stephen Miller, a three-time Paralympic Games gold medallist in the club throw from 1996-2004 (F32 Cerebral Palsy classification) and, alongside Hinton one of the most experienced members of the team, echoed the words of Eriksson.
“I’ve been doing this sport for 16 years which makes me feel really old...” he said; “but when Peter told me I was team captain I was so honoured...and for the first time in my career I’m truly proud going into the Games as part of this team. That’s testament to everyone on the team and how hard they’ve worked and it shows the strength and depth of disability athletics in Britain.
“It’s scary, but it’s supposed to be. You have to be nervous, but use those emotions in a positive way. We’ve all made sacrifices to be here, but we only have one opportunity; now we have to take that opportunity.”
Ohuruogu, whose coach Lloyd Cowan is a team sprints coach for the Paralympic Games, spoke to the team about her own experiences in London and how she managed the pressure, expectation and excitement of the home crowd, and answered questions about how she coped with different situations in the holding camp, in the Village and in her final preparations.
“This is a great opportunity to compete in London, to know that you have 100% of the crowd behind you,” she said. “Don’t fear it, it’s like an extended family, so use it to your advantage; embrace the support, embrace the noise. It can be scary, I won’t lie, but embrace it and enjoy it.
“Try to remember that it’s just a 400m track, just a long jump pit, just a throwing circle. At my first Games in Athens in 2004 I remember someone telling me to think back to my training track at Mile End in London. Yes, there will be more people, but it’s still 400m, it’s still one lap. It’s a bigger stage, but you’re doing what you’ve always done so be positive; focus on your strengths and how hard you’ve worked and you have nothing to fear.”
Miller, reading from one of his favourite quotes, fittingly summed up the thoughts of an entire team: “Everyone wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die,” he said. “That’s one of my favourite lines because it’s the same in sport, success doesn’t just happen, you have to work for it. Now, for all of us, the time has come to go out and get it. Let’s go out there and make it happen.”
The Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony takes place on Wednesday 29 August with the track and field programme kicking off on Friday 31 August.
The full ParalympicsGB track and field team is below and a media guide with short biographies and statistics can be found through the following link:
Ola Abidogun (Steve Thomas): T46 100/200m
Jonathan Adams (Jim Edwards): F34 shot putt
Graeme Ballard (Steve Thomas): T36 100/200m
Paul Blake (Rob Ellchuk): T36 400/800m
Mickey Bushell (Fred Periac): T53 100/200m
Jamie Carter (Jenny Archer): T34 100/200m
Aled Davies (Anthony Hughes): F42 shot putt/discus
Derek Derenalagi (Alison O’Riordan): F57 discus
David Devine (Brian Scobie): T12 800/1500m
Kyron Duke (Anthony Hughes): F40 javelin/shot putt
Dan Greaves (Jim Edwards): F44 discus
Jordan Howe (Jane Coia): T35 100/200m
Rhys Jones (Jane Coia): T37 100/200m
Dean Miller (Bud Baldaro): T37 1500m
Stephen Miller (Ros Miller): F32 club throw
Steve Morris (Chris Moss): T20 1500m
Scott Moorhouse (Dan Pfaff): F42 javelin
Stephen Osborne (Peter Eriksson): T51 100m
Jonnie Peacock (Dan Pfaff): T44 100m
Sam Ruddock (Joseph McDonnell): T35 100/200m
Ben Rushgrove (Rob Ellchuk): T36 100/200m
Nathan Stephens (Anthony Hughes): F57 javelin/discus
Kieran Tscherniawsky (Jim Edwards): F33 discus
David Weir (Jenny Archer): T54 800/1500/5000/marathon
Dan West (Jim Edwards): F34 shot putt
Richard Whitehead (Liz Yelling/Keith Antoine): T42 100/200m
Rob Womack: F55 shot putt
Hollie Arnold (Anthony Hughes): F46 javelin
Olivia Breen (Leroy Elliott): T38 100/200/4x100m relay
Sally Brown (Philip Tweedie): T46 100/200m
Libby Clegg (Keith Antoine): T12 100/200m
Hannah Cockroft (Peter Eriksson): T34 100/200m
Katrina Hart (Rob Ellchuk): T37 100/200/4x100m relay
Tracey Hinton: T11 100/200m
Bev Jones (John Parkin): F37 discus/shot putt
Jade Jones (Ian Thompson/Tanni Grey-Thompson): T54 400m/800m/1500m
Sophie Kamlish (Rob Ellchuk): T44 100/200m
Jenny McLoughlin (Darrell Maynard): T37 100/200/4x100m relay
Maxine Moore (Alison O’Riordan): F32 club throw
Mel Nicholls (Job King): T34 100/200m
Josie Pearson (Anthony Hughes): F51 discus/club throw
Gemma Prescott (Michael Woods): F32 shot putt/club throw
Stef Reid (Keith Antoine): T44 100/200m/F44 long jump
Hazel Robson (Janice Kaufman): T36 100/200/4x100m relay
Sophia Warner (Steve King): T35 100/200/4x100m relay
Claire Williams (Jim Edwards): F12 discus
Shelly Woods (Peter Eriksson): T54 800/1500/5000/marathon
Bethy Woodward (Jonas Dodoo): T37 200/4x100m relay