By John-Paul Moloney from The Canberra Times
Canberra cyclist Michael Milton's Paralympic Games hopes suffered another
blow yesterday with news he has missed out on a wildcard place in Beijing.
The Australian Paralympic Committeetold Milton he had been unsuccessful in
his application for the one wildcard berth allocated for an Australian male
The news followed Milton's disappointing result at a Paralympic trial event
in Adelaide on the weekend when he failed to significantly improve his best
time for the 3km time trial, leaving him more than 10sec adrift of a
But Milton said he wasn't giving up hope and remained optimistic he could
be picked in the eight-strong men's team for Beijing even without an
official qualifying team.
It is understood the wildcard has been offered to a 2004 gold medallist,
opening up an extra place in the team because that cyclist would be an
almost certain selection anyway.
''It would have been nice to have a wildcard and some certainty. But
although I'm not in, there's now a slightly improved chance of
qualifyingand time for head down bum up and really about trying to run some
good times between now and the end of May.''
Milton's preparation for what would be his first summer Paralympics after a
highly successful winter sports career suffered a massive blow last year
when he was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer. He underwent radiation and
chemotherapy before surgery last September.
Still a relative cycling novice, Milton believed he had the potential to
make very significant improvement by the time of the Games in early
''I need to make some big improvements, but I'd like to think that's more
possible for me than someone who's been training for several years.''
Milton said in the wake of last weekend's disappointing trials, he and
coach John Armstrong had changed his training program in the lead-up to the
next selection trial in Sydney in late April.