HE is Bolton’s most successful sportsman — yet he is a virtual unknown in the town.

He has won 10 times more international medals than Jason Kenny and Amir Khan put together and still holds a world record, 25 years after setting it.

Now, the 49-year-old Paralympian is set to take his rightful place alongside Khan, Kenny and hundreds of other Bolton greats on the Spirit of Sport statue at the Reebok Stadium.

His name is Tony Griffin — and he wants everyone to know it.

“Disabled athletes train just as hard and we deserve the same recognition,” he says.

“Amir Khan and Jason Kenny are household names in Bolton, and rightly so. But I want to see Paralympians getting the same rewards.”

Tony, who has cerebral palsy, went to his first Paralympics in the south of France aged just 16 and travelled again with the British team to Holland in 1980.

But four years later came his most successful event to date — the 1984 Paralympic Games in New York.

President Ronald Reagan opened the games and Tony even found time to call his mum from the top of the Empire State Building.

“It was a very special moment, meeting the most powerful man in the world,” he said.

“It was a split second thing at the opening ceremony. He shook everyone’s hand.

“We were treated like stars there. It didn’t matter whether you were in a wheelchair or not. But it has taken a long time to get the same reaction in this country.

“I called my mum after I got a silver in the weightlifting. I was disappointed to be honest because I had trained so hard and I wanted the gold. But I guess I didn’t do too badly.”

Tony brought home two golds, for javelin and the Indian club — and two world records to boot.

His world record throw of 50 metres in the Indian club — an event similar to the hammer — stands to this day.

In his 10-year career, the Bolton athlete won a total of 38 medals.

When his mother died in 1989, he buried the medals with her.

“She was the driving force behind me,” he says.

“She sacrificed so much. I never thought of myself as disabled. She taught me to be independent.”

The 1986 Commonwealth Games marked his last sporting performance on the international stage, as he settled down to start a family.

He now lives in Great Lever with his second wife and his six children.

Now, Tony has just been named the town’s Sports Ambassador for 2009 by Bolton Council. On Friday, he will speak at an exclusive function at the Reebok Stadium, where he will call again for more recognition for disabled athletes.