Nine British Paralympic Medallists to Star in Global Final
Nine British London 2012 Paralympic medallists, including Paralympic champions Hannah Cockroft (coach: Jenni Banks), Jonnie Peacock (Steve Fudge), Richard Whitehead (Liz Yelling) and David Weir (Jenny Archer) have been confirmed as competing at the Sainsbury’s Grand Prix – Birmingham, in the inaugural IPC Athletics Grand Prix Final on 29 June at Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium – the first event of its kind to be held anywhere in the world.
The Sainsbury’s Grand Prix – Birmingham will be the first major international competition on British soil since the London 2012 Games and the first time that six time Paralympic gold medallist David Weir (Jenny Archer) will compete on a UK track since last summer.
Over 140 of the world’s best athletes will compete in 18 events, in the final event of the global IPC Athletics Grand Prix series, which has included competitions in Dubai, Beijing, Sao Paulo, Grosseto, Arizona and Berlin. It is anticipated that the event will attract some of the biggest British and international names from athletics including many Paralympic champions from London 2012.
Cockroft, T34 100m and 200m Paralympic champion who broke the 800m world record at Stoke Mandeville last weekend, is excited to relive the experience of racing in front of a home crowd once again.
“I’m really looking forward to getting back out on the track in front of a British crowd for the Sainsbury’s Grand Prix - Birmingham. This will be the first opportunity many athletes will have had to thank the support we had during London 2012, so it’s going to be a great occasion for all of us.
“It’s great to see more high profile events being staged around the world, and it will really help continue the appetite for the sport that we saw at the Games last year.
“Having the opportunity to compete against some of the best athletes in the world is not something we’re used to outside World Championships and Paralympic Games, so to have that framework and vision can only be seen as a positive.”
Peacock, who also captured the nation’s hearts during London 2012 when he stormed to victory T44 100m believes that the Sainsbury’s Grand Prix - Birmingham will act as great preparation for the IPC World Championships in Lyon in July, and is relishing the prospect of going up against some of his potential rivals.
“This is the first time a Grand Prix series has been hosted, and to have the finale in Birmingham is great for the British athletes taking part.
“The athletes competing have qualified by right to be in Birmingham for the IPC Grand Prix Final at the Sainsbury’s Grand Prix, so I’m expecting another close race, just like the Paralympic Games. I’m in a very competitive class, but I know on my day, I can beat anyone, so I’m going to go into the race with that mentality.
“It will be the final time I have the opportunity to compete against some of my rivals before the World Championships in Lyon, so it will give me a gauge of where I am, and what I need to do to add gold to the one I picked up in London last year.”
British Athletics Paralympic Head Coach, Paula Dunn said:
“The introduction of a Diamond League style series by the IPC is an incredibly important move for the development of the Paralympic movement across the world and it’s fantastic for us that the IPC have chosen us to host the inaugural Grand Prix Final at the Sainsbury’s Grand Prix – Birmingham.
“The biggest legacy from the London 2012 Games was that the British nation fell in love with Paralympic sport, and our athletes, and our programme, have really benefitted from that.
“It’s so special to have the opportunity to compete on home soil and Britain is leading the way in delivering high level international competition for our athletes, which will go a long way in preparing them for major competitions this year, as well as putting us on the right path to Rio in 2016 and then on to the Worlds in London in 2017.”
Athletes so far confirmed as competing at the Sainsbury’s Grand Prix – Birmingham are:
T43/44 100m: Jonnie Peacock
T42 200m: Richard Whitehead
T11/12 800m: David Devine
T53/54 1500m: David Weir
F44 (42) Discus: Dan Greaves
F31/32/51 Club Throw: Stephen Miller
T33/34 200m: Hannah Cockroft
T37 400m: Bethany Woodward, Jenny McLoughlin
T53/54 1500m: Shelly Woods
F42/43/44 Long Jump: Stef Reid