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PARALYMPICS: Tustain left disappointed after bronze.

Byline: CHRIS MICHAEL

his second of the Games -- at the Olympic Velodrome.

Hunter -- whose wife Ellen has also won two medals, including a gold -- piloted visually impaired cyclist Ian Sharpe in the 1km time trial tandem.

Hunter and Sharpe clockedNICOLA TUSTAIN was forced to settle for bronze after a disappointing start to her Paralympic campaign yesterday.

The 26-year-old Corwen-based rider, a double gold medal list in Sydney, admitted nerves affected her as Sweden's Irene Slattengren claimed a surprise gold in the individual dressage.

Dutch rider Joop Stokkel took silver and Tustain shared the bronze with Gert Bolmer, of the Netherlands.

``I could have done a lot better, '' she admitted. ``There was huge pressure on me to win. It made me nervous but I tried hard to put it out of my mind. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't -- today it didn't.

``The programme for the free style on Friday is more challenging, which will help me as long as I can keep the quality of walk and trot. ''

Wrexham competitor Paul Hunter also banked a bronze --1m 05. 350s to finish 0. 389s behind Australian winners Anthony Biddle and Kial Stewart, and French pair Patrice Senmartin and Frederic Janowski.

``We didn't expect to be here in this position. I am absolutely delighted with another medal, '' said Hunter. ``We came here as 4km riders and we certainly never expected to have a chance.

``We rode out of our skins and took a second and a half off our personal best for the event. We are just over the moon. ''

Britain's Dan Gordon and Barney Storey were expected to be gold medal challengers but could only finish fifth.

``It was painful to watch Dan and Barney's run because they are the top GB pairing in the event and we wanted them to do well, '' Hunter added. ``It is heartbreaking when you wait four years for your event and then something goes wrong. ''

Meanwhile, Welsh swimmer Nyree Lewis was still celebrating late last night after capturing the 100m free style gold on her 24th birthday.

Boyfriend Sascha Kindred made it a double celebration by capturing the breast stroke gold yesterday.

``Winning the medal was my priority and once I got that sorted out I could shout for Sascha and then enjoy my birthday, '' she said.

``It has been the best birthday ever. ''

In association with the National Lottery -- giving pounds 4. 7m to elite disability sport in 2004

CAPTION(S):

Nicola Tustain and her horse Prinz Heinrich won a bronze in the individual dress age yesterday
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Sep 23, 2004
Words:423
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