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

ParalympicsGB 27_AugustAugust 27 - Sir Philip Craven, the President of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), has urged Britain's athletes to excel at London 2012 to help ensure the overall success of the Games.

ParalympicsGB finished second behind hosts China at Beijing 2008 with a haul of 102 medals, including 42 golds, and the team is expected to better that record on home soil while retaining its second-place slot.

Sir Philip, who represented Britain at wheelchair basketball at five consecutive Games from 1972 to 1988, said that ParalympicsGB hitting its lofty targets would be of huge importance for the Games overall.

"For Britain to be highly successful here in London is very important," remarked the 62-year-old.

"It's got to make for good news for people coming to watch their heroes compete."

Sir Philip said he is unsurprised by the overwhelming public support for the Games, with organisers expecting to have sold all 2.5 million available tickets before the action begins later this week.

"I could feel this bubbling up a year ago when the tickets were launched on September 9 last year and a million had been sold within three weeks," he said.

Wheelchair basketball_1_27_August
"That was a pointer to how Britain views Paralympic sport.

"Then the Olympics came along and everyone was caught up in the fervour of true sport and they just want it to continue.

"That provided a further boost."

Sir Philip added he is particularly excited about watching the men's wheelchair basketball team (pictured above) which will be a strong gold medal contender at London 2012.

"I don't want to put too much pressure on the men's team but they've really got a chance," he said.

"If the final was [to be] Great Britain beating Australia that would be seventh heaven.

"But don't tell Greg Hartung, my IPC vice-president who is Australian!"

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related stories
August 2012: British Paralympians set a target of 103 medals at London 2012