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January 5, 2005

Hawkins aims for double success

From: BBC Sport, UK - Jan 5, 2005

Candy Hawkins is hoping to emulate the achievements of her fellow Kent athlete Kelly Holmes when she steps onto the track at the Deaflympics in Melbourne.

Hawkins is bidding for an 800 and 1500m double and has been encouraged by Holmes' wins in Athens last summer.

"I will be trying my best in both events, just like Kelly did," said the 33-year-old from Willesborough.

"Her achievements are a great inspiration to me so let's see how my attempt goes."

Hawkins already has two Deaflympic gold medals from the 1997 Games in Copenhagen where she achieved victory in both the 800 and 1500m events.

She missed out on the 2001 event in Rome through injury but is eager to regain her titles once more.

But this time she has the added challenge of taking on one of the rising stars of British deaf athletics, Lauren Peffers, in both events.

The 16-year-old from Scotland was second behind her compatriot over 1500m at the 2003 European championships but went on to beat Hawkins into third place in last year's European indoor championships 800m.

"We have competed against each other a few times and Lauren is a very good athlete," said Hawkins.

"Anything can happen in either event for both of us. It will depend on how the races develop tactically, but I think it will be challenging, exciting and fun for both of us."

The pair begin their campaigns on Saturday with the final of the 1500m while the heats of the 800m get underway the following day and the final takes place on Tuesday.

But Hawkins, who had the honour of carrying the British flag at the opening ceremony, is relishing the chance to compete against the best deaf athletes in the world.

"We have the European Deaf championships but the Deaflympics are the only chance I have to race against the top athletes from the rest of the world," she said.

"I would like to see world championships held every two years, like hearing athletes have.

"It also would be nice for the Deaflympics to be held at the same venue as the Olympics and Paralympics so that deaf athletes could share the high profile that Olympians and Paralympics get.

"I would love to become a full-time athlete but the funding is not in place at the moment which is a real shame," she said.

"I work full-time and still train six times a week, sometimes twice a day but athletics is a sport I love and I would like to remain in it for as long as I can."

Hawkins' race schedule
Sat 8 Jan: 1,500m final
Sun 9 Jan: 800m semi-finals
Tues 11 Jan: 800m final

Story from BBC SPORT:

Published: 2005/01/05 20:40:09 GMT