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Manager leads GB to impressive haul

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Romford’s Verona Elder MBE led Great Britain to six gold, six silver and three bronze medals at the 7th INAS World Indoor Championships for athletes with learning disabilities.

Elder was team manager as GB finished second in the medal table behind only Portugal at Manchester’s Sport City.

Havering Mayesbrook’s Neill Collins was selected for the event but had to withdraw due to injury.

Monique Davis returned from injury to win gold in the 400m, 800m and 4x400m relay, alongside Claire Ryan, Kimberley Aspland and Stephanie Moore.

Marcel Hodge won 200m gold on his international debut and added another in the 4x200m with James Simpson, Robert Ferrol and Aidan Turnbull.

Andrew Kaar scooped gold in a scintillating 3,000m race, narrowly missing out on his own world record, while silver and bronze medals went to Martina Barber, Holly Durbidge, Owen Miller, Stephen Morris , Chloe Knight and Emily Rawlins,

Davis said: ”While I was hoping for slightly better times, I am happy I won my races.

“It’s good being part of this GB team and I was impressed with my team mates performances, the hard work is paying off!”

Hodge added: “I really enjoyed the experience. It’s the best team I have ever been involved with and I’m very grateful for the support of the coaching staff.

“It was a great opportunity to raise the team profile and I hope to be selected to the European Championships in Sweden in June.”

Tracey McCillen, chief executive of the UK Sports Association, added: “The team worked hard and approached the event with the professionalism needed at this level.

“It was a great mix of experience, enthusiasm and hard work, all of which is needed in Paralympic year as some of the athletes target London 2012. Congratulations to all and thanks to the dedicated staff supporting them.”

The Championships, hosted by UKSA England member Mencap Sport, under the auspices of INAS, was supported by Manchester City Council and was the first major international learning disability championships in the UK since 2008.

Over 80 athletes competed from 12 nations and the GB team was managed and selected by UKSA in collaboration with its four Home Country members, all working to support athletes on the performance pathway.

Those members are Scottish Disability Sport, Disability Sports Northern Ireland, Welsh Sports Association for People with Learning Disability and Mencap Sport in England.

The UK Sports Association manages the classification process for athletes with learning disability from the UK and is the official member of INAS, a member of the International Paralympic Committee.

GB medalists

Gold

200m: Marcel Hodge (23.10)

400m: Monique Davis (1:02.32)

800m: Davis (2:25.96)

3,000m: Andrew Kaar (8:47.29)

4x200m: James Simpson, Robert Ferrol, Aidan Turnbull, Marcel Hodge (1:38.76)

4x400m: Claire Ryan, Kimberley Aspland, Monique Davis, Stephanie Moore (4:36.58)

Silver

Pentathlon: Martina Barber (1,739 points)

400m: Robert Ferrol (56.23)

800m: Stephen Morris (1:59.82)

800m: Kimberley Aspland (2:37.03)

4x200m: Holly Durbidge, Claire Ryan, Chloe Knight, Monique Davis (1:57.84)

4x400m: Robert Ferrol, Aidan Turnbull, Stephen Morris, Owen Miller (3:45.67)

Bronze

800m: Owen Miller (2:00.47)

1,500m: Andrew Kaar (4:05.85)

Shot: Emily Rawlins (8.71).

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