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November 4, 2001

Ziv Bar-Shira

Helene Hines

Saul Mendoza

Francesca Porcellato


BOB LAUFER: I am Bob Laufer. I am the wheelchair race coordinator for the Marathon. I am happy to be sitting here with our four winners in the two categories push rim wheelchair and hand cycle, male and female. This is the second official year of the wheelchair division and the first year in which we will have prize money. The times that were recorded today are, obviously, all course records. Obviously, because we had a very strong field and because the times were way under what was produced last year. We have one repeat winner, on my right Helene Hines, who, she can tell you how much faster she went this year, and the rest of the group is really a reflection of the international wheelchair and hand cycle sport. Starting on my right, your left, Saul Mendoza, from Mexico, now living in Austin, Texas. Saul was the first push rim today in a time that was basically 20 minutes less than the winning time last year. I am going to give you just round numbers because we started the wheelchairs at 10:20 and the hand cycles at 10:25, but the ultimate winner was a hand cycle, so -- Saul's time today was in the 1:33 running, which last year, the winning time was 1:54. That's quite an amazing time for a push-rim wheelchair on the hills and twists of this course. Next, is the women's winner in the push rim wheelchair categories from Italy, Francesca Porcellato and her time, also a course record, she can tell whether she was pleased with it or not and what the course was like. But it's a wonderful time for our course and I believe it was 2:08. I am waiting for official times because we have to do some subtraction because the ultimate time was for the hand cycle. And to Francesca's left is the winner of the entire race, in terms of crossing the finish line, first winner of the hand cycle category, who actually started five minutes and 53 seconds after the push rims, from Israel, Ziv Bar-Shira, whose time was 1:27:49. Again, about a 30 minute improvement over the winning time last year. Finally, but what I mentioned earlier, the one repeat winner from last year in the women's hand cycle category, Helene Hines, with a time of 1:46:21. I think her time last year was in the high 150s, so that's a tremendous improvement. I have probably talked enough, starting with Saul on that side, anything you want to say before anyone asks questions?

SAUL MENDOZA: I just want to thank all the sponsors today to make this a reality. Thanks for bringing us all here. I find this a good opportunity to promote the professional wheelchair division sport and it was great race. I stayed together with this guy from South Africa mile, probably 10, I took away enough to have to push by myself. It is a beautiful course and this is the kind of races that I enjoy to do. My time today is the reflection of my practicing. I am doing probably 125 miles a week and I am full-time wheelchair racer, and right now, this is my profession. I just love it and just like any other sport, we are very dedicated and we put a full-time -- it is a full-time job. I am glad that, today, my time was fairly good. Thank you.

BOB LAUFER: Let me say, before Ziv took over the lead, made up the five minutes plus, Saul was in a tremendous race with Krige Schabort, another top push rim wheelchair. They were together 'til exactly the halfway point when Krige had first a flat, then totally lost his other tire. Unfortunately, we weren't able to have a close finish in that category, but it would have been tremendous races at the end, I am sure.

FRANCESCA PORCELLATO: Excuse me, my English is not good. I am very happy to be here to do the New York City Marathon. I am happy to be the first and was big experience. I love all in this Marathon, the people, New York City, all, thank you very much.

ZIV BAR-SHIRA: I'd like to thank the organizers of this event for a great event. I really enjoyed it. The course was great and but actually I think it was -- it wasn't a perfect course for hand cycles. Actually hand cycles can go even faster 1:10 or 1:15 and but nevertheless, the hand cycle division showed its potential here today and I hope next year the two divisions will be equal in terms of the prize money, thank you very much.

HELENE HINES: Hi, I am Helene Hines. I am from New York, hooray, New York. Last year I did a 1:57 so I am very happy to do a 1:46 and New York is the first Marathon really to have the hand cranks and the push rims together and we both get prize money and I think Bob Laufer is sort of leading the way to show the other states and the cities and countries that we all work and we're all athletes and everybody should be rewarded the same and I want to congratulate the push rims, you do a fantastic job and you did a great job and some day I will be coached and we'll stick right together. Thank you. I guess if are there any questions.

Q. Saul, did you feel the same way that this was a challenging course for push rim?

SAUL MENDOZA: Yeah actually it is. Some of the hills -- basically the bridges and some of the turns for us is kind of hard so going down the hill and turning 90 degrees it was pretty tough. But I think because experience that we have with the chairs we can handle it and of course it is a big challenge.

Q. Can you explain the difference between competing in hand cycling and push rim in terms of your physical -- what you are required to do, what is the difference in terms of the technical aspects of the sports?

HELENE HINES: A lot of us took up the hand cycle instead of rim because of disabilities. I can't lean forward with the push rim. Paraplegics and quads cannot use the push rim but we can use the hand crank. It is like double in weight but it's very difficult pushing this thing so you don't see too many woman doing it because most women don't have upper body strength. It is very hard to do. But it's very exciting because we're able to get now more people with other disabilities into an exercise where they couldn't do it before and it was funny last year I said eventually maybe like in five years they would catch up and this year we actually had more hand cycles than we have push rims.

Q. In the competition?

HELENE HINES: Yeah, it's really taking off.

Q. How big was the whole field today?

BOB LAUFER: I didn't count it out in the staging area with you as the end of the expo yesterday we had approximately 90 wheel chairs, hand cycles, but of varying degrees of ability on those.

Q. What was the split?

BOB LAUFER: I think there may have been one more at one point it was 46, 44 and we had some late sign-ups. But we did divide the field this year. We had what we're considering at this stage of our division, the elite which were people who will finish under three hours in the push rims, we had them go off at 10:20. Then we had the elite again under 3 hour hand cycles went off at 10:25 and I think the fields were pretty much the same. It was something like 22 to 25 in each field and then with the hand cycles behind them went off the balance of the field. So in terms of having what we're calling elite, I think we probably had even -- what I think the world would call elite I am not sure at this point. I would have to see the times. I think when we started we probably had a few more internationally known racers in push rims than hand cycles, but I will wait and see what the times show.

Q. Do you see yourself as going in competition with the hand cyclists?

SAUL MENDOZA: Not really. Hand cycle and push rim, we're even though we looks just the same we're different sports. I relate more to hand cycle as a bicycle and we're more related as if you were a runner, running with regular wheelchair, the speeds of course are different. They can go faster than us because the difference gears that we have and we don't have any gears, but like she was saying before it's a sport that's growing a lot and it's I think it's a good opportunity to show the sport to a lot of people with disability, more like a new disabilities, I think that's easier to get into the hand cycle than get -- get special position and special technique for the racing chair and I think that's one of the reasons that it's going to grow a lot, hand cycle. Myself, I think I am going to do some cross country -- some cross training through the hand cycle. It's real good.

Q. Same question do you see yourself as being in competition with the push rims?

ZIV BAR-SHIRA: No, I think myself I was wheelchair racer for ten years before I switched to hand cycle and found it easier, but as Saul said, it's a different sport. And the main difference is hand cycle is like bicycle and racing wheelchair is like -- is mainly for athletics.

Q. Saul, were you disappointed that Nietlispach dropped off in the last couple of weeks before the race?

SAUL MENDOZA: Yeah, actually I was a little bit. I think Nietlispach is one of the best in the world and it's always good to run with them, but in -- actually, in a week I am leaving to Japan where we are going to have a great competition with other guys so that will be very interesting to see what kind of level I am at at this point in my performance.

Q. Would it have been a different race today if he was here?

SAUL MENDOZA: I don't know, probably, it would because every time, every race is different, so it would be interesting to see how he's pushing.

BOB LAUFER: Let me just mention --

SAUL MENDOZA: But Schabort and Scott Hollonbeck they are pretty much the same level, so it was if -- you know, to finish with them for half of the race.

BOB LAUFER: We had a very deep field for our wheelchair division field in both push rim and the hand cycles, I will mention that Krige Schabort, as I did before, was here. He's a top one of the -- Scott Hollonbeck, one of the top Americans was here, each of them had flats and other problems on the New York streets, and Ziv is part of an Israeli team all of whom have tremendous past times. I think my only disappointment is that we didn't -- I couldn't put together a field and I expect to next year, since there's a number of 17-year-old women who are ready to challenge but I wish I had given Helene and Francesca a tougher race, they probably would have enjoyed it more. But we are very happy they were here and their times are terrific. We will just have to get people who will come close to them next year.

End of FastScripts....

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