Graeme Ballard and Michael Churm have been selected for the Great Britain team at the BT Paralympic World Cup, which starts today in Manchester.

The two Chorley Athletic Club members will take part in the 100m and 200m sprints and will be competing head to head, which will be unusual for them.

Although they both suffer from the same disability – cerebral palsy – Ballard is affected on both sides of his body and competes in the T36 class, while Churm, who is less severely impaired, is a T37.

For this tournament the races will incorporate both classes as well as the T38s, making the competition so much harder.

The two friends have fought their way back into the international reckoning after losing their funding from UK Athletics following their failure to medal in the Beijing Paralympics.

Ballard was the top ranked T36 in the world last year, and both were invited to represent Britain again this spring when they were among eight athletes selected for th Fazza Games at Dubai in February.

With their funding severely limited, Ballard, 30, was presented with £500 from Runshaw College where he was recently a student in Maths and English.

He is determined to repay his supporters by qualifying for the World Championships in New Zealand next January.

He goes there in fine fettle after setting a personal best 12.3 seconds when reaching the final of the 100m at the recent Lancashire Championships against able bodied opposition.