49 Paralympic Track and Field Athletes Named for London
With just 50 days to go until the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympic Games, the British Paralympic Association (BPA) has announced the 49 members of the ParalympicsGB team who will compete in Athletics in London, including double gold medallist from Beijing David Weir.
Of the 28 of the athletes who will make their Paralympic Games debuts in London, several are World Record holders including Hannah Cockroft, the T34 double World Champion in the 100/200m and multiple World Record holder; Paul Blake, World Record holder in the T36 1500m and World 400m Champion; and Jonnie Peacock, the new T44 100m World Record holder after clocking 10.85 to break Oscar Pistorius’s record in the USA at the end of June.
Meanwhile, Josie Pearson and Richard Whitehead make their Games debuts in Athletics after representing Britain in Beijing 2008 in Wheelchair Rugby and in Turin 2006 in Ice Sledge hockey respectively.
The team features a number of experienced track and field campaigners including Stephen Miller, a three-time Paralympic gold medallist in the F32 club throw and Dan West, a multiple medallist in the F34 shot putt and discus, who have been selected for their fifth Games this summer, while Tracey Hinton, a double gold medallist in the T11 100m and 200m at the recent IPC Athletics European Championships, celebrates her sixth Paralympic Games.
David Weir - one of the UK’s greatest ever Paralympians and gold medallist in the T54 800m and 1500m in Beijing 2008 - is selected for his fourth Games: “Training has been going well and I’m completely focused on success in London,” said the three-time World Champion who won a record-equalling sixth London Marathon title in the capital in April. “Last winter was my first solid block of winter training in a couple of years and that, coupled with the great support team I’m working with, has really helped me both physically and mentally.
“I definitely felt the pressure going into Beijing four years ago but I’ve grown as an athlete since then and I think I proved that to an extent with my gold medals at the World Championships in New Zealand last January. There’s no doubt that the T54 class is one of the most fiercely competitive and exciting to watch in Paralympic sport, but I have realistic expectations and I hope that I can give the crowd something to shout about in one of the Games’ showpiece events.”
Beijing medallists returning to the ParalympicsGB team in addition to Miller and Weir are Ben Rushgrove, Mickey Bushell, Shelly Woods, Dan Greaves, Hazel Robson and Libby Clegg.
Clegg has recently returned from the IPC Athletics European Championships in Holland where she won two gold medals in the T12 100m and 200m and knows she has the opportunity of a lifetime in London.
“I was so excited to medal in Beijing, but I was still very young and with a lot to learn and back then I couldn’t even begin to imagine how it might feel to be selected for a home Games,” said the IPC World 100m Champion who won silver four years ago.
“I’ve moved home and training base and changed my guide runner and coach since then but it’s all coming together at the right time and I’m in the shape of my life. As a team we’re also stronger and the atmosphere within the squad is so much more positive than I’ve ever experienced before, which really helps us perform.”
The team also includes Derek Derenalagi, one of several athletes in the ParalympicsGB team for London who has come through the Ministry of Defence’s Battle Back programme.
UKA Head Coach Peter Eriksson said: “As you can see from our selection, we’ve made a lot of changes since Beijing where we finished 18th overall and that medal performance has been our benchmark for progress ever since.
“We had a hugely successful World Championships in January 2011 where we won 38 medals and finished third in the medal table. Now, in my third full year at UKA, we’re starting to see the gradual transition to a much more professional squad with a fantastic team spirit as well as having competent performers. Overall the strength and depth of the squad has improved and that’s a huge positive. We’ve seen a tremendous increase in the number of new athletes coming into the sport and in particular, those that we’ve been able to fast track from development through to international representation at junior and senior level, and that’s evident in this team – which means we’ve had to make some tough decisions.
“I’m confident we can do well and but we can’t underestimate the fact that every other nation will have stepped up their preparation and performance goals in this quickly evolving and fast-improving sport.”
Craig Hunter, Chef de Mission of ParalympicsGB, said “Today’s athletics announcement completes the line-up for ParalympicsGB for London 2012. This team has a promising balance of experience and new, up-and-coming talent and I can’t wait to see how they perform in London.
“I am also delighted that we can do this – our final team announcement - today, with 50 days to go to the Opening Ceremony of London 2012. I would like to take the opportunity to thank all our partners, UK Sport for our exchequer and National Lottery funding and the Government for all their support of disability sport in the UK. We have a reputation for being a leading nation in Paralympic sport, but we would not be in this position without all their support.”
Hugh Robertson, Minister for Sport, the Olympics and Paralympics:
“Today marks 50 days until the start of the Paralympic Games and for many athletes the dream of competing in London 2012 has been made a reality. I wish the very best of luck to all those who have worked extremely hard to be selected and to build on the great success achieved in Beijing.”
Today’s announcement is the final team announcement for ParalympicsGB and completes the line-up of British athletes who will compete for Great Britain and Northern Ireland at London 2012. In total, 288 athletes have been selected, alongside a further 13 team members, including sighted goalkeepers, tandem riders and guide runners.
The selected athletes are:
Ola Abidogun (Steve Thomas): T46 100/200m (age: 18; born: Ilford; lives: Bolton);
Jonathan Adams (Jim Edwards): F34 shot putt (age: 19; born: Bury St Edmonds; lives: Sudbury);
Graeme Ballard (Steve Thomas): T36 100/200m (age: 33; lives: Chorley)
Paul Blake (Rob Ellchuk): T36 400/800m (age: 22; born: Dorchester; lives: Dorchester);
Mickey Bushell (Fred Periac): T53 100/200m (age: 22; born: Shrewsbury; lives: Telford);
Jamie Carter (Jenny Archer): T34 100/200m
Aled Davies (Anthony Hughes): F42 shot putt/discus (age: 21; born: Bridgend; lives: Cardiff);
Derek Derenalagi (Alison O’Riordan): F57 discus (age: 37; lives: Watford);
David Devine (Brian Scobie): T12 800/1500/5000m (age: 20: born: Liverpool; lives: Liverpool);
Kyron Duke (Anthony Hughes): F40 javelin/shot putt (age: 19; born: Newport; lives: Cwmbran);
Dan Greaves (Jim Edwards): F44 discus (age: 29; born: Leicester; lives: Loughborough);
Jordan Howe (Jane Coia): T35 100/200m (age: 16; born: Cardiff; lives: Cardiff);
Rhys Jones (Jane Coia): T37 100/200m (age: 18; born: Pontypridd; lives: Tonypandy);
Andy Kaar (self-coached): T20 1500m;
Dean Miller (Bud Baldaro): T37 1500m (age: 22; born: Barrow-in-Furness; lives: Birmingham);
Stephen Miller (Ros Miller): F32 club throw (age: 32: born: Newcastle; lives: Cramlington); Steve Morris (Chris Moss): T20 1500m;
Scott Moorhouse (Dan Pfaff): F42 javelin (age: 23; born: Ipswich; lives: London);
Stephen Osborne (Peter Eriksson): T51 100m;
Jonnie Peacock (Dan Pfaff): T44 100m (age: 19; born: Cambridge; lives: London);
Sam Ruddock (Joseph McDonnell): T35 100/200m;
Ben Rushgrove (Rob Ellchuk): T36 100/200m (age: 24; born: Bath; lives: Bath);
Nathan Stephens (Anthony Hughes): F57 javelin (age: 24; born: Cardiff; lives: Cardiff);
Kieran Tscherniawsky (Jim Edwards): F33 discus (age: 20; born: Boston; lives: Sleaford);
David Weir (Jenny Archer): T54 800/1500/5000/marathon (age: 33; born: Wallington; lives: Wallington);
Dan West (Jim Edwards): F34 shot putt (age: 34; born: Cambridge; lives: Nottingham);
Richard Whitehead (Liz Yelling/Keith Antoine): T42 100/200m (age: 35; born: Nottingham; lives: Nottingham);
Rob Womack (coach TBC): F55 shot putt
Hollie Arnold (Anthony Hughes): F46 javelin (age: 18; born: Grimsby; lives: Ystrad Mynach);
Olivia Breen (Leroy Elliott): T38 100/200/4x100m relay (age: 16)
Sally Brown (Philip Tweedie): T46 100/200m (age: 17; born: Belfast; lives: Ballykelly NI);
Libby Clegg (Keith Antoine): T12 100/200m (age: 22; born: Cheshire; lives: Loughborough);
Hannah Cockroft (Peter Eriksson): T34 100/200m (age: 20; born: Halifax; lives: Halifax);
Katrina Hart (Rob Ellchuk): T37 100/200/4x100m relay (age: 22; born: Worcester; lives: Bath);
Tracey Hinton (Darrell Maynard): T11 100/200m; (age: 42)
Bev Jones (John Parker): F37 discus/shot putt (age: 37; born: Mancot; lives: Shotton);
Jade Jones (Ian Thompson/Tanni Grey-Thompson): T54 400m/800m/1500m (age: 16; born: Middlesborough; lives: Middlesborough); Sophie Kamlish (Rob Ellchuk): T44 100/200m;
Jenny McLoughlin (Darrell Maynard): T37 100/200/4x100m relay (age: 20: born: Stockport; lives: Chepstow);
Maxine Moore (Alison O’Riordan): F32 club throw;
Mel Nicholls (Job King): T34 100/200m;
Josie Pearson (Anthony Hughes): F51 discus/club throw; (age: 26)
Gemma Prescott (Michael Woods): F32 shot putt/club throw;
Stef Reid (Keith Antoine): T44 100/200m/F44 long jump (age: 27; born: New Zealand; lives: between USA and UK (Loughborough);
Hazel Robson (Janice Kaufman): T36 100/200/4x100m relay (age: 32; born: Sunderland; live: Houghton-le-Spring);
Sophia Warner (Steve King): T35 100/200/4x100m relay (age: 38; born: Chertsey; lives: Dorking);
Claire Williams (Jim Edwards): F12 discus; (age: 24; lives: Loughborough)
Shelly Woods (Peter Eriksson): T54 800/1500/5000/marathon (age: 26; born: Blackpool; lives: Blackpool);
Bethy Woodward (Jonas Dodoo): T37 200/4x100m relay (age: 19; born: Eastbourne; lives: London)