IPC Athletics World Championships
19-29 July

Grosseto Preview - 2013 IPC Athletics Grand Prix

A look at what and who to look out for this weekend at the IPC Athletics Grand Prix in Grosseto, Italy 10 May 2013 By Lewis Wood Thompson | For the IPC

“Training has been constant work and strong determination, trying to increase the workload.”

The fourth stage of the 2013 IPC Athletics Grand Prix gets underway on Saturday (May 11) in Italy, with big names from around the globe as well as home grown stars set to make their mark as the IPC World Championships in Lyon draw ever closer.

A number of tough battles are likely to unfold on the track this weekend, with Austria’s Gunther Matzinger, who won two gold medals at the Paralympic Games last year, facing some stiff opposition from Brazil.

The 26-year-old will be pushed hard by Emicarlo Elias De Souza in the 400m T46, whilst in the 800m T46, he will face stiff competition from Alex Pires Da Silva.

In the 1,500m T54 the podium could be an all Swiss affair, with Patricia Keller and Alexndra Helbling racing in the women’s event, and London marathon runner-up Marcel Hug heading the field in the men’s race.

Double Paralympic gold medallist Hannah Cockroft also lines up in Grosetto, with the Briton setting her sights on her own world record in the 100m T34.

But the weekend’s action is likely to be dominated by the Italian athletes who will have the added advantage of home crowds.

Italy’s home grown talent Martina Caironi set a new world record as she took 100m T42 gold eight months ago at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, clocking 15.87seconds. Like Cockroft, she is hoping to record more fast times again this weekend.

The 23-year-old lines up in the 100m and 200m T42 and she believes her training has left her well prepared for this weekend’s competition.

“This time I am competing with more responsibility just because I’ve to defend my world record,” she said.

“I've been trying hard to improve my times and lots of people have supported me so I could make this progress and I'm fairly pleased about that.

“Training has been constant work and strong determination, trying to increase the workload.”

Caironi will be running on new prosthetics this weekend and is aiming to test them rigorously with her performances over both sprint events.

“My aims for Italy are to run better, with my new prosthesis,” she said. “And I’ll also try to finish the 200m in a good time.”

Caironi is relishing the opportunity of facing new rivals on her home turf as athletes from different classifications line up alongside each other. Although she recognises this may be a tough test, the European 100m T42 champion believes the presence of other world class athletes can only serve to boost her performance.

“In Italy [this weekend], I have no rivals competing in my category, so I’d like it if some athletes from other countries would take part in the competition,” she said.

“There will hopefully be some runners from other categories like the T43 and T44 and since they run faster than me, they can incentivise my run.”

And whilst the local crowds may be hoping that their national heroes succeed on the track, Caironi appears relaxed, and is yet to feel any added pressure.

“I have to just wait to arrive before knowing how I will feel once I’m there,” she explained.