A NORTH EAST Olympic canoe coach has called on Great Britain’s Paralympic team to pull out of the games in Beijing to help “change the whole course of events in Ukraine”.

David Train, who was born in Stockton, spent 12 years as a Great Britain Olympic canoe coach and helped the teams who competed at the Los Angeles, Seoul, Barcelona and Atlanta games between 1984 and 1996.

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Darlington and Stockton Times:

He was responsible for designing the first Bell Boat, which helps to encourage people to take up water sports.

In a letter to Professor Nick Webborn, the chair of the British Paralympic Association, he said the IPC has made “huge mistakes” in its response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – and said Team GB must respond immediately by withdrawing from the Winter Paralympics, which begin this weekend.

He admitted although the country would be asking its Paralympic Team to sacrifice their chance of medals, they would “return home as national heroes”.

Mr Train said: "I believe it will create a huge world story and help President Xi and the people of China to get President Putin to halt his invasion of Ukraine and observe the Olympic Truce, as he pledged to do.

“Whilst we will be asking our Paralympic Team to sacrifice their chance of medals, I believe that they will return home as national heroes.

“It will inspire the people of Ukraine, inspire people across the world, and change the course of world history.

Darlington and Stockton Times:

“President Putin certainly forgot the day that the British stood alone against the greatest evil of the day. Then the young pilots of the Royal Airforce came to the rescue and became national heroes.

“Now the Paralympians of Team GB can follow in their footsteps. It will be a Win- Win situation for China, Britain and all humanity, including the people of Russia.

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“I hope that the British Paralympic Committee will lead the way for the world and withdraw Team GB.”

Mr Train has spent the last few years using his love of water to raise awareness of climate change in his very own unique and special way.

He has been calling on world leaders to sign his Paddle for Life – a wooden canoe paddle which he is hoping to use as a symbol to spread his message.

Darlington and Stockton Times:

Former Prime Ministers Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Theresa May have all signed his paddle, as well as former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, European leaders and numerous Tees Valley politicians.

He is hoping his Paddle for Life project will be completed in time for the Paris Olympics in 2024, and as part of the project, he is hoping to create a regatta before every Olympic and Paralympic Games.

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