By Tom Degun at the Main Press Centre on the Olympic Park in London

Ellie Simmonds_4_SeptSeptember 4 - ParalympicsGB Chef de Mission Craig Hunter has admitted it has been a "challenging first few days" for Britain at London 2012, despite the hosts having established themselves in its targeted second spot in the medals table behind China.

The British team has produced some of the standout moments of the Games so far through gold medallists Ellie Simmonds (pictured top), a double champion in the swimming pool, and 5,000 metres wheelchair victor Dave Weir.

However, other major gold medal prospects, such as rower Tom Aggar, have failed to take victory despite being heavy favourites in their events.

"The competition is so much fiercer now," Hunter (pictured below) conceded.

"Traditionally it might have been said there weren't great depths in the fields, but there is now.

"We saw that when Oscar Pistorius was beaten in the 200m.

"No-one would have expected that but it's a mark of how much Paralympic sport has improved.

Craig Hunter_at_ParalympicsGB_press_conference
"So it has been a challenging first few days [the Games] for us."

Penny Briscoe, ParalympicsGB Deputy Chef de Mission and British Paralympic Association (BPA) performance director, admitted it would be almost impossible to overhaul China in the medals table but believes Britain looks well set in the battle for second place with Australia, Ukraine, Brazil, Russia and the United States.

"China are as dominant as they were in Beijing and we could never have predicted that," she said.

"But we are toe-to-toe with those nations we thought we would be toe-to-toe with."

Briscoe said she is happy that London 2012 has illustrated the success of the BPA talent identification programmes, illustrated by the performances of Hannah Cockroft, winner of the 100m T34 last week, and Jonnie Peacock (pictured below), who will take on South African Pistorius in a highly charged 100m T44 final on Thursday (September 6).

Jonnie Peacock_4_Sept
"China's talent pool is vast and they are getting more athletes into their Paralympic system," she said.

"So we need to continue to work on our talent identification programmes to get more young athletes like Hannah and Jonnie.

"We hope the London Games will throw the doors right open, that people will look at the opportunities in the coming months and that we will find new talent across all 20 sports."

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