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Games chief hails 'superb start' by Brits
2:21pm Monday 3rd September 2012 in London Olympics 2012 - Latest News
Great Britain's athletes have enjoyed a "superb" start to "an incredible" Paralympic Games, team chiefs said today.
ParalympicsGB are well ahead of schedule in the targeted medal tally of 103 - having smashed through the half-way point after just four days.
Britain currently stand second in the medal table, with a tally of 56.
Today, Natasha Baker's dressage victory and Paul Davies's table tennis bronze medal took Britain's tally to 17 gold, 24 silver and 15 bronze medals.
ParalympicsGB chef de mission Craig Hunter said: "It has been a very exciting first four days of competition, obviously the mood in the camp is very positive because we've got off to a superb start.
"We are second on the medal table this morning, so we are obviously very pleased with that.
"It's been a challenging first few days, with Australia obviously, we've been tagging along with them but we've increased the margin two medals today, ahead of them so that's very encouraging for us, slightly ahead of our Beijing total (at this point in 2008)."
Yesterday saw another hugely successful haul for Britain in cycling, rowing, dressage, swimming and athletics, which saw a medal tally of seven gold, eight silver and three bronze.
ParalympicsGB deputy chef de mission and performance director Penny Briscoe said: "It was the magnificent seven yesterday, which was an incredible day in terms of gold medal return but it was an incredible day full-stop in terms of the overall medals delivered - one of our biggest single days in recent history.
"That was a really positive continuation, we have had a great start to the Games.
"We are where we are on day four, we are ahead of where we were this time in Beijing and that's testimony to the performances that have been delivered."
Although the British team in Beijing had less medals overall after four days - they had 43 - they had won 21 golds at that point, compared to the 16 golds that had been won at the end of day four in London.
Perhaps helped by Britain's performance, the Games are proving a smash hit with fans, with the event set to welcome its one millionth visitor tomorrow.
Record TV audiences have prompted Channel 4 to clear its day-time schedule to boost coverage, with three million tuning in to Ellie Simmonds' dramatic swimming final on Saturday.
Around 10,000 extra tickets are being bought every day as soon as they go on sale, as Paralympic venues experience unprecedented numbers of visitors.
Briscoe said: "We are feeling pretty confident and the performances worldwide have taken another step forward. We are part of an incredible Games so far in terms of the number of world records, Paralympic records, regional records.
"Critically for the British athletes, there's a whole raft of personal bests. We are very much talking about the number of silvers being won, not golds being lost."
Queen of the pool Simmonds will be confident of matching her double gold medal haul at the Beijing Olympics when she lines up for the SM6 200m individual medley final later. This morning she broke her own world record in the heats.
Lee Pearson will be looking to secure his place in British Paralympic sport's most exclusive club by winning gold in the equestrian at Greenwich Park later.
The 38-year-old from Staffordshire contests the Grade Ib freestyle competition, knowing that victory will put him alongside Tanni Grey-Thompson and swimmer David Roberts on 11 Paralympic golds.