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Published : 11/09/2012 00:00

Join the celebrations as Paralympic stars return to Leeds

The Leeds-based stars of the London 2012 Paralympic Games will be honoured at a special celebration event in the city this Thursday.

Athletics star Hannah Cockroft, cyclist David Stone MBE, swimmer Claire Cashmore and powerlifter Ali Jawad are expected to attend the public celebration which will take place on Millennium Square in front of Civic Hall from 12:15pm.

The event will be a celebration of the London 2012 Paralympic Games, which was the biggest and most-watched Paralympics ever, and will also provide a final chance to mark the amazing success of London 2012 as a whole.

Wheelchair racer ‘Hurricane Hannah’ Cockroft emerged as one of the stars of the Games, stunning the crowd in the Olympic Stadium with her speed as she broke the Paralympic record to win the women’s T34 100 metres. The 20-year-old from Halifax, who trains at the John Charles Centre for Sport in Leeds as part of Leeds City Athletics Club, then repeated the feat in the 200 metres to secure the sprint double and two gold medals in her first Paralympic Games.

Also claiming gold was Rawdon resident David Stone MBE, who successfully defended his T 1-2 mixed road race cycling title from Beijing 2008 to make up for his slight disappointment days earlier when he took bronze in the time trial event at the iconic Brands Hatch motor racing circuit.

City of Leeds swimmer Claire Cashmore, who trains at the Aquatics Centre at the John Charles Centre for Sport, took on a punishing race schedule competing in six different events in her third Paralympic Games. The 24-year-old from Redditch won silver in the women’s SB8 100m breaststroke and bronze in the women’s 4x100m 34 points freestyle relay, before being part of the silver medal-winning 4x100m 34 points medley relay team which provided one of the most thrilling finishes seen at the Games as Great Britain were pipped to gold by Australia by just 0.03 of a second.

Powerlifter Ali Jawad was unfortunately one of the hard-luck stories of London 2012, as the 23-year-old who is based at the Team GB High Performance Centre at Leeds Metropolitan University thought he had done enough to secure a silver medal in the men’s 56kg event.

However, the judges failed to unanimously approve his final lift and after an appeal he was given the chance to try again. Unfortunately he was unable to complete the lift and was left to finish in fourth place, narrowly missing out on a bronze medal.

Looking ahead to the celebration event, Lord Mayor of Leeds Councillor Ann Castle said:

“We are really looking forward to welcoming back our Paralympics athletes to Leeds and it would be great to have a big crowd on Millennium Square to honour them and say well done.

“Like the Olympics before it, the Paralympics were an amazing spectacle which captivated the nation and this event offers the perfect way to mark a great Games and for everyone to say a final farewell to the sensational few weeks of London 2012 which none of us will ever forget.”

For details of Leeds’ involvement in the London 2012 Paralympic Games and Olympic Games, visit www.leedsgold.co.uk

For more information on disability sport in Leeds visit www.leeds.gov.uk/disabilitysport or call Leeds City Council’s disability sports officer Ross Bibby on 0113 395 0159 or email ross.bibby@leeds.gov.uk.

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, Senior communications officer,
Leeds City Council, Tel 0113 247 5472
Email: roger.boyde@leeds.gov.uk