Great Britain and the USA have announced their teams to compete at the 2011 International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Athletics World Championships in Christchurch, New Zealand next January.
Both have named strong squads for the World Championships which are one of the last opportunities for Paralympic athletes to compete in an international gathering before the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
Paralympian and three-time world champion Stephen Miller (GBR) is one of four defending champions to be named onto the 40-strong team from Great Britain. Miller has competed in four Paralympic Games and will be joined by other British Paralympians including David Weir, Bev Jones and Dan Greaves.
Great Britain’s Head Coach and Team Leader Peter Eriksson said that athletes have a chance to not only win medals in Christchurch, but to be part of the London Paralympics in less than two years.
“Looking ahead to future Paralympic Games, the World Championships provides another vital opportunity for our senior athletes to compete at the highest level against the best athletes in the world, while for our juniors it’s an important stepping stone towards London, but ultimately to Rio in 2016,” Eriksson said.
Representing a small group of development-level athletes, outstanding junior talent Jade Jones has already proved her credentials at age group level and steps up to compete in a senior event on the global stage for the first time. Coached by Ian Thompson and Paralympian Ambassador Tanni Grey-Thompson, Jones took five gold medals and one silver medal at the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS) World Junior Championships this year in August.
Team USA will be sending a total of 54 athletes to the Athletics World Championships, including 34 men and 20 women. Athletes were selected for the team based on meeting the qualifying standards between 1 September 2009 and 31 August 2010, and competition results from the 2010 USA Paralympics Track and Field National Championships.
Athletes on Team USA who also competed at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games will include Anjali Forber-Pratt, Jessica Galli, Tatyana McFadden, Amanda McGrory, Jeremy Campbell, Josh George, Jerome Singleton and Casey Tibbs.
Team USA took fifth place in the medal standings for Athletics in Beijing, winning a total of 28 medals (nine gold, 14 silver and five bronze). Not far behind, Great Britain totalled with 17 medals in Beijing (two gold, seven silver and eight bronze).
Taking place from 21-30 January 2011, the IPC Athletics World Championships are expected to see hundreds of athletes from around the globe compete.