DAME TANNI Grey Thompson has paid tribute to the head whom she believes inspired her to Paralympic glory.
The Welsh athlete, who announced her retirement last month, said Dewi Jones, the former junior headmaster of Cardiff's Birchgrove junior school, changed her life because he "didn't make a great deal of using a wheelchair".
The multi-gold medallist spoke of her respect for Mr Jones ahead of the New Directions Education Inspirational Teachers Awards 2007, to be held at Cardiff's Marriott hotel next week.
"He fought to get me into mainstream school - this changed my life," said Dame Tanni.
Other Welsh sports stars supporting the event, now in its third year, are Commonweath Games gold medallist swimmer David Davies and Wales and Cardiff Blues rugby hooker Rhys Thomas.