GB Paralympic team boss named

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The Independent Online

The manager of Britain's Paralympic team for the London 2012 Games was announced today.

Craig Hunter's appointment as ParalympicsGB's Chef de Mission for the highly-pressurised home Games is the first key posting for Tim Hollingsworth, the British Paralympic Association's (BPA) new chief executive.

Working with an eye on success at London 2012 and future Games, Hollingsworth has spent his first 10 weeks in the job reviewing the organisation's structure.

This will be vital in backing Britain's athletes who are aiming to come second in the Paralympic medal table for the fourth Games in a row.

British athletes won 102 medals, 42 of them gold, at the Beijing 2008 Paralympics.

In the 13 years he has been involved in elite sport the widely-respected Hunter has worked as a technical official, team manager and as Team England's Chef de Mission at the New Delhi Commonwealth Games.

Mr Hollingsworth said: "In Craig we have a hugely experienced, inspirational Chef de Mission whose operational knowledge, eye for detail and leadership qualities will ensure that everything is done to support lifetime best performances by British athletes.

"I firmly believe that this is the right appointment at this time. Craig will lead our team preparations while, as chief executive, I will be better placed to ensure we maximise the opportunities provided by a home Games and to develop the organisation's wider long term interests, setting us up for Sochi, Rio and beyond."

Hunter, who starts the job part-time in October before going full time in the New Year, said: "It is a great opportunity to work with what is already an outstanding team and aim for even greater success in London. Whilst everything that we do will be focused on winning medals, I'm also hugely excited that ParalympicsGB's performance can go beyond that and inspire many young people to get involved in sport and help shift attitudes towards disability."

Paralympic cycle champion Sarah Storey welcomed Hunter's appointment noting that it is an "important" role during the Games.

She said: "Knowing that there is someone you can call on for advice, who understands the complexities and the elite nature of the competitive environment, gives you confidence. Craig has been both my team manager at the Manchester Commonwealth Games and my Chef de Mission in Delhi and he did a superb job at both. It's a great appointment."

Stephen Park, the sailing squad's team leader, said: "These are exciting and important times for the Paralympic movement and I approve of the decision to focus the Chef de Mission role on maximising the success of the team at the Games, whilst separately allowing the chief executive officer to represent the BPA and the sports more widely.

"Craig is an excellent appointment as Chef - there are few people in the UK with as much experience in delivering for sport in a Games environment and I am 100% confident in his ability to do the job. I look forward to working with him and the rest of the team as we build towards London."