Velodrome closes its doors to the strains of the national anthem

 

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The Independent Online

There has been a simple rule of thumb used by the crowds shoe-horned into the Velodrome these past weeks. Cheer loudly for anything that moves and if it's British – easy to tell because usually they move the quickest – cheer even louder.

After 10 days of action spanning the Olympics and Paralympics, the Velodrome shut its doors last night having hosted another raucous day that featured more of the core ingredient: British success. They will remain shut until next year when the Velodrome hosts a round of the World Cup.

The last feet to mount the mauve podium in the middle of the arena were clad in the red trainers of Team GB's coaches and support staff. As in the Olympics, they are a central part of the success story and some, such as psychologist Steve Peters, overlap. "There is no secret formula," said Gareth Sheppard, Britain's Paralympic performance director. "They [the riders] have knuckled down and have the best coaches and best support."

It was a month ago yesterday that Philip Hindes, Chris Hoy and Jason Kenny earned Britain's first gold medal here. The Union flag has been raised another 23 times and the National Anthem played for 12 gold medals. It was the first anthem played and yesterday evening it was the last.

The last to hear it were Anthony Kappes, a partially-sighted chess enthusiast from Stockport, and his tandem pilot Craig Maclean, once a team-mate of Hoy. One step below them were Neil Fachie and Barney Storey, who were beaten 2-0 in the gold medal race for individual B sprint. The last event saw British silver from the team sprint trio of Jon-Allan Butterworth, Rik Waddon and Darren Kenny. Gold went to China, the difference 0.065sec.

For Kappes and Maclean there was the relief of taking gold after two false starts on Saturday had cost them the chance of victory in the B kilo. There was also a second bronze for Aileen McGlynn, who was partnered by Helen Scott in the tandem sprint.

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