The 5th Tunnel 2K International, the thrilling 2km race through the Tyne Tunnel, North East England has again been voted a resounding success by elite wheelchair athletes from all over the world.
Australian Kurt Fearnley won the men's race. He smashed the course record in a blistering 3minutes, 47.5 seconds. Said, 25 year old Fearnley, "I hit 42 mph on the down hill which was awesome but the heavier guys were still in front at the bottom but hill climbing is my strength which enabled me to power to victory. Having said that, it's a tough race, I rarely feel pain in my arms like that!".
Second was Britain's Tushar Patel in 4 minutes 16 seconds. German Ralph Brunner took third - he was lucky to come anywhere in the race because the airline 'lost' his wheels and it was only one hour before the start that they arrived at the Tunnel by courier!
In the women's race, with a time of 5 minutes 21.1 seconds, Shelly Woods, stole first place from Canadian Diane Roy. The 20 year old Briton outstripped the Athens Bronze medallist on the uphill by 5.2 seconds. Italian, Francesca Porcellato took third place; Dame Tanni Grey Thomson was fourth.
Shelly, 20, said, "I'm thrilled to win. Tunnel 2K gives me chance to pit my wits against a world-class field which is great prep' for the Paralympics in Beijing. I can't wait for next year!".
Race Organiser, David Burdus, said, "Tunnel 2K gives our younger Brits like 16 year old Mickey Bushell the chance to test themselves against their peers. It's just what we need to encourage new athletes and corporate sponsors to get behind our 2012 Paralympic effort.