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Athens switch brings aid hitch.

Byline: GARETH HUGHES

A DISABLED athlete who is heading for the Paralympics in Athens is paying the price for her versatility.

Beverley Jones, 29,from Pentre, near Queensferry,has qualified to represent Britain in the shot put -but will have to make her own way to the Games after having her funding through the Sports Council for Wales' Elite Cymru programme and World Championship Performance Plan withdrawn.

Beverley, who has cerebral palsy, is one of the world's leading disabled athletes and competed at the 2000 Sydney Games in the 100m and 200m, which have been dropped from this year's event.

After discovering that there would be no sprints at this year's Paralympics, she began training for the 400m, even though it meant the loss of her WCPP funding.

However she realised she would not be able to gain the qualifying time and so reverted to the shot put, which, when she first took up athletics, was her speciality.

``It was a bold decision to go back to her roots,but Beverley is very determined,'' said her sprint coach Nigel Hetherington.

A member of Menai Track and Field,Beverley showed her promise at an indoor meeting in April and achieved the qualifying distance two weeks ago in Birmingham when she hurled the shot 10.18m to set a new UK record for her class.

``With the world record standing at 10.83 she is on target to win a medal in Athens,'' saidNigel.

Beverley added: ``I'm due to attend a squad training session in Cardiff next week and hope to hear something about funding then.''

Other North Walians in the seven-strong Welsh contingent going to Athens are Sydney gold medal list Nicola Tustain in the equestrian events,plus shot-putter Andrew Williams, 23,from Mold. Tandem cyclist Ellen Hunter, 36, from Wrexham, is also hoping to be selected,in the 1km time-trial event.

Ruthin's Anna Jackson has been named as reserve for the British basketball team.

CAPTION(S):

Beverley Jones is facing a funding crisis for the Athens Paralympics after being forced to change sports -despite breaking British records
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jun 3, 2004
Words:347
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