Paralympian says work must start now

DAVID Hilton already knows that if he is in a position to pull on his Team GB tracksuit in London in 2012 there will be more than a few tears.The Felixstowe-based manager of the Great Britain Paralympic archery squad is "gobsmacked" that the Games are set to return to England.

DAVID Hilton already knows that if he is in a position to pull on his Team GB tracksuit in London in 2012 there will be more than a few tears.

The Felixstowe-based manager of the Great Britain Paralympic archery squad is "gobsmacked" that the Games are set to return to England.

And he has predicted a massive boost for Paralympic sport as the build-up to the 2012 Games carries the nation on a tide of hope and expectation.

Mr Hilton, of Oak Close, said: "It is fantastic.

"Each time I pull the GB tracksuit on I feel so proud but to pull that GB tracksuit on in London it's going to be so much better. There's going to be a lot of tears that's for sure."

The 49-year-old has been manager of the archery squad for four years and he took them to Athens.

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Now he believes the necessary investment in sports infrastructure and the increased awareness of Olympic and Paralympic sports which accompanies hosting a games will lead to real benefits for athletes and produce a new generation of Paralympians.

Mr Hilton said: "It's going to be a fantastic boost to all sports.

"It's going to mean a heck of a lot of work over the next seven years – starting now.

"We have to now be looking at development and getting young blood into the sport."

The Paralympian archery squad currently has eight out of ten members who have competed in three or more Games. As with many Paralympic sports teams contain participants much older than in Olympic sports and Mr Hilton said it was critical to raise awareness among young people about the opportunities available to them.

He said: "We've got to aim to be number one.

"There's a lot of disabled people in the UK who don't know where to get hold of sports clubs and how to get into sports and to get to the elite level. "I think that's going to be addressed."

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