Grand Prix power session to feature series of rivalries

The IPC Athletics Grand Prix moves to Nottwil, Switzerland, for the first European leg of the series, headlined by the Saturday evening session. 16 May 2014
A man with a silver helmet and red jersey leans forward on his racing wheelchair

Marcel Hug won two silvers at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

ⒸGetty Images

A star-studded line up will do battle in the men’s 1,500m T53/54, with local favourite and world 1,500m champion Hug out to impress the home crowds.

This Friday (16 May) will see the 2014 IPC Athletics Grand Prix head to Nottwil, Switzerland, for the first European leg of the season where a number of clashes are set to take place over three days of thrilling action across track and field.

The event also features a power session on Saturday (17 May) between 14:25-18:45 featuring the likes of Swiss Silver Bullet Marcel Hug and Great Britain’s David Weir in the men’s 1,500m T53/T54, and the 100m T54 between flying Finn Leo Pekka Tahti and Dutchman Kenny van Weeghel.

Power session – Saturday 14:25-18:45

Men’s 1,500m T53/54

A star-studded line up will do battle in the men’s 1,500m T53/54, with local favourite and world 1,500m champion Hug out to impress the home crowds. Great Britain’s Weir, the 1,500m Paralympic champion, finished just behind Hug at the London Marathon in April, having come out on top at the OZ 10k in Sydney at the start of the year. The pair will also have to look out for 1,500m bronze medallist Masayuki Higuchi, Australia’s triple Paralympic gold medallist Kurt Fearnley and Frenchman Julien Casoli, who clinched 5,000m Paralympic bronze behind Weir and Fearnley in 2012.

Women’s 100m T34

Great Britain’s Hannah Cockroft stormed to victory at the 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships in Lyon, France, over both the 100m and 200m T34, to add to her double gold from London. She will be the favourite again this weekend, but the Netherlands’ Amy Siemons will once again be hoping to get the better of the 21-year-old having finished second behind Cockroft at both London 2012 and Lyon 2013.

Men’s 100m T34

With all eight finalists from last year’s World Championships lining up in Nottwil, the men’s 100m T34 is one to watch. Tunisia’s reigning Paralympic and world champion Walid Ktila heads the field, having kicked off the Grand Prix series in terrific style, setting new world records over 200m, 400m and 800m in Dubai in February. But the 28-year-old cannot take anything for granted with Australia’s young star Rheed McCracken – 100m silver medallist at London 2012 and Lyon 2013 – showing great potential at just 17 years old. Watch out, too, for the Netherlands’ Stefan Rusch as well as Swiss fan favourite Bojan Mitic.

Women’s 1,500m T53/54

Another impressive field - this time in the women’s 1,500m T53/54, with Switzerland’s Manuela Schaer hoping to do her home nation proud. The 29-year-old won three track silvers in Lyon and faces tough competition in Nottwil with American Paralympic bronze medallist Shirley Reilly – winner in Arizona last weekend – on the start line alongside Australian champion Madison de Rozario and Canada’s Diane Roy, who were all 1,500m finalists in Lyon.

Men’s 100m T54

Pekka Tahti and Van Weeghel are familiar foes on the track, and they go head-to-head once more this weekend. The Dutchman came out on top over 200m at the World Championships last summer with Tahti having to make do with silver, but the Finn turned the tables over 100m, adding a world title to the Paralympic gold he won in London. Germany’s 100m T54 bronze medallist Marc Schuh should also be in the mix.

Men’s shot put F54-57

Mohamad Mohamad and Alexey Ashapatov are another duo used to competing on the big stage. Russia’s Ashapatov added double world gold in Lyon to follow on from the shot put and discus F57/58 gold he won at the London Paralympics, whilst Syria’s Mohamad secured World Championship gold in the shot put F56/57 last year. Hungary’s Zsolt Kanyo also reached the finals in Lyon and throws in Nottwil this weekend.

Friday (16 May)

Men’s 200m T53

Canada’s man of the moment Brent Lakatos heads up a strong field of para-athletes in the men’s 200m T53. The 33-year-old won four gold medals in Lyon, including the 200m. Last weekend he clocked a remarkable 25.19 seconds in Arizona, but the wind speed meant there was no world record. Also on the start line is Great Britain’s Mickey Bushell, who picked up world 100m T53 silver behind Lakatos to add to the gold medal he won in London. Look out, too, for another impressive Canadian, Jean-Philippe Maranda.

Sunday (18 May)

Women’s Long jump F44-46

Great Britain’s Paralympic long jump F42/44 silver medallist Stef Reid has enjoyed a terrific start to the season after a disappointing year in 2013. The 29-year-old single leg amputee leapt to 5.45m in Florida last month, provisionally beating the previous world record by 0.02m. She faces a tough test in Notwill against the likes of Dutch world champion Iris Pruysen who sealed gold in Lyon with a jump of 5.00m.

The 2014 IPC Athletics Grand Prix, supported by Allianz, runs from 16-18 May in Nottwil, Switzerland, and will feature around 250 athletes from more than 30 countries in the first European edition of the season ahead of the 2014 IPC Athletics European Championships in Swansea, Great Britain. For media accreditation please contact

More information can be found on the Nottwil event homepage.

The 2014 IPC Athletics European Championships will gather 600 athletes from 40 countries for the biggest para-athletics event in Great Britain since London 2012. More information, including how to apply for media accreditation can be found on the event homepage.