PARALYMPICS LONDON 2012: British officials buzzing about home team performances
GREAT Britain are on course to hit their 103 medal target after just five days of the Paralympics, team officials have said.
IMPRESSIVE: David Weir's 5,000m gold was one of the highlights of the Paralympics so far, delighting the home fans at the Olympic Stadium
Home athletes won seven golds on Sunday, including a sensational victory for wheelchair racer David Weir at the Olympic Stadium that was every bit as dramatic as Mo Farah's win over the same distance at the Olympics.
And British Paralympic Association performance chief Penny Briscoe says the team, second behind China on the medal table four years ago, are on course and brimming with confidence but admitted standards were increasing.
“We’ve had a great start to the Games,” she said,
“We had a magnificent seven yesterday. It was an incredible day in gold-medal terms and in overall medals – one of our biggest medal days in recent Paralympic history.
“China are already 11 gold medals up on where they were in 2008. We could never have predicted that. They are as dominant as they were in Beijing. But we are toe-to-toe with those nations we thought we would be toe-to-toe with.
“It’s been an incredible Games so far in terms of world records, Paralympic records, and, critically, in the number of personal bests being set.
“Fifty-seven nations have won at least one medal and we’re only at day five. Paralympic sport is becoming ever more important globally and the number of nations winning medals reflects that.”
Chef de mission Craig Hunter added that it had been 'a challenging first few days' with Britain battling for second spot with a resurgent Australia, who began Monday third on the medal table.
“The competition is so much fiercer now,” he said. “Traditionally it might have been said there weren’t great depths in the fields, but there is now.
“We saw that last night when Oscar Pistorius was beaten in the 200m. No one would have expected that. But it’s a mark of how much Paralympic sport has improved.
“It just shows how far the Paralympics have progressed and the British nation has embrace it like no other.
“Spectators could not get in for one hour before the sitting volleyball game yesterday, and it was the same for Will Bayley’s table tennis final last night.”