Bailey eyes up Beijing on her bike

Paralympic swimming ace Sarah Bailey from Great Britain will announce her retirement from international swimming to concentrate on cycling instead. The 27-year-old four-times Paralympic swimmer made the switch to the bike after winning five golds, two silvers and a bronze at the Open European Cycling Championships in Holland in August. Also plagued by chronic ear infections, she has now decided to concentrate on her newfound sport.

"Cycling kind of crept up on me and it's only since coming home from the Europeans and having allowed the results to sink in that I realised I was being presented with an incredible opportunity most people only ever dream about," she said. "The career I have had in swimming has been incredible. But with cycling I get to move out of my comfort zone, into the unknown and try to achieve similar success in a new sport. It's something I always considered doing, but never thought I would get the chance. Now that I have been given the opportunity I think I would be a fool to turn it down."

Bailey now aims to compete as a cyclist at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games. She is not the first Paralympic swimmer to make the transition to cycling ­ Ian Sharpe won eight medals from four Paralympic Games in the pool, before competing in the visually-impaired tandem cycling events with sighted partner Paul Hunter in Athens. The pair won a brace of bronze medals.

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