Paralympians to eye Sydney success - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Paralympians to eye Sydney success

By Jordan Baker 03/06/2004 04:49:26 PM Comments (0)

After finishing number one on the medal tally in Sydney, Australia's Paralympians could be lucky to scrape into the top five in Athens.

And with the slide partly blamed on Australia's willingness to share the secrets of its success, Paralympic coaches have been told to keep their good ideas to themselves.

Four years ago in Sydney, Australia's team of almost 300 athletes won 149 medals, 63 of them gold, to avenge a last-minute victory by the United States in 1996.

But the Australian team's status going into Athens will be much lower than usual, with the International Paralympic Committee ranking it fifth based on world championships results.

Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) chief Darren Peters said several factors prompted the slip, including a smaller team and the international body's decision to suspend intellectually disabled athletes.

"We lost about 25 medals out of that," he said.

"Also, Great Britain and China are moving ahead in leaps and bounds.

"Great Britain had three-to-one funding given to them to lift their game in sports ... China have just got a lot of people with disabilities and they're now playing sport."

Peters said Australia had also been very generous with its intellectual property relating to athletes with a disability, which might end up working to its detriment.

"We're worried about that so we've told our coaches to start protecting a lot of our information until we get past Athens, we've been giving too much away for free," he said.

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