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Miller, Churchill and Greaves Aim for Gold

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Stephen Miller




6 September 2008




Britain’s golden trio from Athens are ready to throw for gold again when the athletics events at the Beijing Paralympic Games get underway in the Bird’s Nest on Monday (8 September).


Ken Churchill, Daniel Greaves and Stephen Miller all struck gold with world record throws four years ago, claiming half of Britain’s six track and field titles in the 2004 Paralympic Games.


Churchill and Miller will both be will be going for their fourth consecutive gold medals in Beijing, Churchill in the F37 javelin and Miller in the F32 club, while Greaves is seeking his second F44 discus title after winning silver in Sydney as a 17-year-old.


“I obviously hope to bring home gold again,” said 28-year-old Miller, from Cramlington in Northumbria. “I’d be pleased with a medal but gold is what I’m here for.


“It feels a bit weird that I’ve already done three Games. I feel I know what to expect. I won’t get overawed by the occasion and I’m really confident of a good performance.”


Thirty-three-year-old Churchill competes in his fifth Games confident that he can retain his title after finishing second at the World Championships two years ago.


“At the World Championships in 2006 the Chinese turned up out of nowhere and my main opponent was throwing 56-metres,” said Churchill, a Durham athlete who lives and trains in Loughborough.


“I had injuries in my shoulder and back, and I had a disc problem in 2007. But that’s all sorted now and I’m back throwing 54-metres in training.


“Because of my experience I know how to perform and how to do well under pressure. I believe in myself and I know everyone in the Britain team believes in me.


“I’m here and I’m on form. I’ve always been able to throw well in big competitions. I don’t know whether the Chinese guy can cope with pressure but I know I can.”


Like Churchill, Greaves is also based at Loughborough University and shares his training partner’s self-confidence.


If I’m not coming home with gold, I’ll be highly disappointed,” said the 25-year-old reigning champion, who is also a double world champion from 2002 and 2006. But Greaves insists the favourite tag won’t faze him.


“I've got to push myself to the limit, but it’s hard at the top because the only way to go is down, he said. “Everyone’s chasing me and that’s been in the back of my mind for the last four years. I’ve just got to keep maintaining my training and hopefully I can do it. You have to be positive.”


Greaves was also the first Paralympian to represent Britain in an able-bodied event when he competed for the Great Britain junior team in 2001.


“The sport is my life,” he said. “I put everything into it so this is my reward for all the time and effort that I’ve put in for years. It is every person’s dream to win.”


Greaves won a thrilling final in Athens. Lying third until the last three rounds, he pulled out a world record effort to take the crown.


“I thought ‘Wow'’ when I looked up at the screen,” remembered Greaves. “I knew I had secured gold then as I was the last but one to throw.


“Now, I'm all set for the Games to start in Beijing. Having watched the Olympics, seeing it all went smoothly, I think the Chinese will put on a great show.


“I love the big occasion, I thrive on it, so I can't wait to compete, but I have to wait until the 15 September.”


Miller, who also goes for gold on day 9, said: “I’m really glad to be here and can’t wait for it to start. The opening ceremony makes you realise you are here and the Games are about to start. It should be inspiring. I am looking forward to seeing the Bird’s Nest for the first time.”


Churchill will be first of the throwing trio to compete on day three (9 September).



For news updates on ParalympicsGB please visit www.paralympics.org.uk