Norwich’s Olympic hopefuls gear up for London 2012

Norwich's Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls are stepping up their training with 100 days left to go until the start of the London 2012 Games.

Today marks 100 days to go until this summer's Olympic Games.

And while finishing touches are being made to the Olympic Park, 11 test events are still to be held and the person to light the Olympic cauldron is yet to be selected, the city's Olympic athletes are doing everything they can to make the final selection.

Norwich's Nick Dempsey has already secured his place on Team GB and, as reported in yesterday's Evening News, has set up camp in Weymouth from now until the Olympics.

There were celebrations all round last week when UEA City of Norwich paralympic swimmer Jessica-Jane Applegate also made the grade.


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But for many of our other hopefuls, it will be a waiting game as selections for their events will take place in June.

Those still waiting to prove themselves are former Town Close pupil and hockey player Richard Alexander, cyclist Emma Pooley, former City of Norwich Athletics Club steeplechaser Barbara Parker, Taverham paralympic archer Mel Clarke, Norwich seated shotputter Danny Nobbs and wheelchair basketballer Amy Conroy.

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Pooley, a silver medallist in Beijing, today heads up a strong British contingent at La Fleche Wallonne Femmes in Belgium.

The 29-year-old former Norwich High School for Girls and Norwich School pupil is a previous winner of the UCI World Cup race and with the exact line-up of the women's Olympic team yet to be settled, selectors will be looking at the race to gauge form.

As for Parker, currently based in Atlanta, she said: 'Things are starting to get a little more exciting now. I ran a 800m and 1,500m double at the weekend – we call it a rust-buster!'

'I have competed in the Europeans, World and Olympics Games, so I feel more relaxed knowing I have those experiences…this time I am not going into the Olympics to just be on the team. I have big goals and I have worked extremely hard over the past few years, and London 2012 couldn't have come around at a better time in my career.'

Meanwhile, former Notre Dame High School pupil Conroy is hoping to be selected for next month's BT Paralympic World Cup in Manchester which is where selection will take place.

The 19-year-old amputee from Norwich, who lost part of her left leg after battling against cancer, said: 'It's pretty full on right now, it's pretty intense.

'We played France and Germany recently and we've got the World Cup coming up which will give us an indication of where we are.

'If I get to play at the Paralympics, it will be a huge thing, it's the biggest honour and it would have to be the pinnacle to play at a home ground at the Paralympic Games, in front of a home crowd.'

And having been officially confirmed on the British team for London 2012 back in September, windsurfer Dempsey can concentrate on peaking in time for the Olympic Games.

The 31-year-old, who took bronze at Athens in 2004 and recently earned a silver medal at the RS:X World Championships, said: 'I am massively excited about the summer and being back in Weymouth and training on the water and training specifically for the Olympics.

'I am exactly where I want to be, I am by no means peaking for this time of year. The target is definitely to do that in the summer. I've had a fantastic start to the year and the result at the worlds was pretty massive.'

Have you got an Olympics story? Call reporter Kate Scotter on 01603 772326 or email kate.scotter@archant.co.uk.

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