For Shelly Woods, the appointment of Chantal Peticlerc as a mentor and coach to the GB Paralympic track-and-field team has been a masterstroke. Four years ago in Beijing, Woods was a rival of the Canadian golden girl of wheelchair racing. Now she has the 14-time Paralympic gold medallist in her corner.
"I feel very lucky that Chantal is working with us," Woods, a clear winner of the wheelchair section of this year's London Marathon, said yesterday. "Four years ago she was the athlete you looked up to – the one who was dominating and who had all the records. Her speed was incredible.
"She has a lot of experience and most of it relates to the events that I do. It's great to have her there."
Woods won silver behind Peticlerc in the 1500m in Bejing. The Canadian won five golds in the Chinese capital, equalling her tally from the 2004 Paralympics in Athens. She also has two each from Atlanta in 1996 and Sydney in 2000.
"I think I can relate to the kind of pressure that the British athletes will be under at a home Games," Peticlerc said. "When I went into Beijing challenging myself to win five gold medals for a second time it came with a fair amount of pressure from everybody."