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Criddle helps GB's push for team gold

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: September 01, 2012

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Tauton's Deborah Criddle put her Paralympic experience to good use in the Grade III equestrian event yesterday, finishing second among her 12-strong section with LJT Akilles.

Criddle, 46, is competing in her fourth Paralympics, having won triple gold at the Athens Games eight years ago, and a score of 72.926% was beaten only by 2008 individual gold medallist Hannelore Brenner.

A motorbike accident in 1985 badly affected the right side of Criddle's body. Eight years later she made the decision to have her right arm amputated, while her right leg only works at about 50%.

But the Somerset rider produced a test that, while she admitted it could have been better, kept Britain in complete control of the team competition despite German Brenner posting 75.741% aboard Women of the World.

"It would have been nice to break the 73% barrier, but you can't have everything," Criddle said.

"This is so much more than the other Games I have done. We've never been at the heart of the event itself, and the support here is fantastic.

"The motivation is that none of us wants to be on the team that doesn't bring home the gold medal, so we all want to produce the goods.

"It wasn't his best test. I think I went in and kind of didn't ride the first few movements, but as it went on I got more flow."

Nine-time gold medallist Lee Pearson recorded the highest score in his class and Paralympic debutant Sophie Wells followed suit in Grade IV, topping a 14-strong entry.

Riding Pinocchio, the 22-year-old from Newark in Nottinghamshire posted an international personal best score of 75.906% to strengthen Britain's bid for a fifth successive Paralympic team gold.

Great Britain women's coach Garry Peel was preparing to give his wheelchair basketball team a "lash of the tongue" after branding their performance an "absolute disgrace" in a 51-24 defeat against Australia.

Peel was left stunned as 2008 bronze medallists Australia dominated the game in every department, and held his team to 21% shooting from the field.

"They know what's coming," he said. "They know that's not the way we play. It was an absolute disgrace what we put out there. They didn't stick to the game plan and if you don't do that then you won't win nothing."

Exeter's Judith Hamer, who was born in Plymouth, led Britain off the bench with eight points, while Helen Freeman had seven.

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