BOLTON’S most successful sportsman knows what it is like to overcome massive odds to gain status and recognition.

And former paralympian Tony Griffin, who has cerebral palsy, is fully behind his home town’s bid to become a city next year at the fourth attempt.

He said: “The Bolton family has all the attributes needed to become a city and I am aware we have missed out previously.

“I have lived here my whole life and I am very proud to be from Bolton and having represented the town all over the world.”

Pointing to the vast array of leisure, historical and community attractions the borough has to offer, Mr Griffin said he did not see how any of the other bidders stood a chance.

He added: “We have great sporting facilities, a Premier League football team, major investments planned to overhaul the transport network, a thriving university attracting students from all over the country and great nightlife. I think we are ready.”

As well as backing the bid for city status, the 50-year-old, who lives in Bolton with his wife, Carla, and six children, is also campaigning for more recognition from paralympians, ahead of the Olympics and Paralympics in London next year. Mr Griffin won 38 international medals in an athletic career that took him all over the world during the 1980s.

He said: “The paralympics allowed me, as a young lad from Bolton, to travel the world and see places I would never have seen otherwise.”

He went to his first Paralympics in the south of France aged just 16 and travelled again with the British team to Holland in 1980.

Four years later came his most successful event to date — the 1984 Paralympic Games in New York, when he got to meet then-US President Ronald Reagan. He brought home two golds for javelin and the Indian club — and two world records.

His record throw of 50 metres in the Indian club — an event similar to the hammer—stands to this day. Town Hall chiefs submitted Bolton’s bid for city status last week.

The borough is up against around a dozen other towns across the country, including St Austell and Greater Manchester neighbours Stockport