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PARALYMPICS: Nicola: I'd no doubts we'd strike gold again; Britain's dress age team extend remarkable record.

Byline: CHRIS MICHAEL

NICOLA TUSTAIN ensured her Paralympics ended on a high as Great Britain won team dress age gold.

The Corwen rider, a double gold medal list in Sydney four years ago, joined Lee Pearson, Debbie Criddle and Anne Dunham on the top of the rostrum.

Britain won gold comfortably, finishing well ahead of nearest rivals Germany and the Netherlands.

Tustain, whose preparations for Athens have been hampered by a wrist injury, never had any doubt that she'd strike gold with Prinz Heinrich.

``The individual competitions were disappointing despite winning two bronzes. We finally reached our potential, even though I am feeling pain in my left wrist, '' said Tustain.

``There was no doubt in my mind that we'd strike gold. We have a brilliant and fantastic team. The audience was wonderful and it gave us the strength to perform at our very best.

``I have to thank my sponsors, my trainer and, of course, my beautiful horse. This is definitely the best test I have done at these Games.

``I'm going home with three medals and I'm still a Paralympic champion. I've no complaints -- it's been another fantastic experience'' Britain are the only team to have won the team dress age gold medal since the event was introduced at Atlanta eight years ago.

And the victory means Pearson has retained all of the three titles he won four years ago after winning grade I individual dress age and free style golds.

Criddle had already won the grade III individual dress age and free style titles with Tustain taking bronze medals in the grade II individual dressage and freestyle events.

And Swansea swimmer David Roberts is a quadruple Paralympic gold medal list after victory last night in the S7 50m free style -- his favourite event.

Roberts raised the roof at the Aquatics Centre with his blistering swim and was a proud figure as he took to the podium to collect a gold medal for the fourth time, having claimed previous victories in the 100m free style , 400m freestyle and 200m individual medley.

Nyree Lewis settled for bronze in the 400m free style -- despite smashing the Paralympic record during qualifying.

Just a few hours later Mexico's Doramitzi Gonzalez bettered that mark -- and beat the world record -- to steal gold. Britain's Mhari Lewis finished 13 seconds later to claim silver with Lewis earning her fourth medal just a few strokes behind.

However, there was disappointment for Oswestry's Jason Roberts as Britain's wheelchair rug by team just missed out on a medal.

They were narrowly beaten 43-39 by the United States in the bronze medal play-off match.

``It's a disappointing to get so close to a medal but still miss out, '' said Roberts.

CAPTION(S):

The GB wheelchair basketball team during their semi-final defeat by Australia yesterday
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Sep 27, 2004
Words:464
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