London 2017: McFadden and van Rhijn raring to go

Title contenders speaking ahead of World Para Athletics Championships. 13 Jul 2017
two female para athletes

Marlou van Rhijn and Tatyana McFadden are going for gold at London 2017.

ⒸGetty Images

With just a day to go until the World Para Athletics Championships get underway, we've been speaking to some of the top contenders for medals at London 2017.


Tatyana McFadden (USA) - women’s 400m, 800m, 1500m & 5,000m T54

“It has been a really tough year. In February I had blood clots on both legs and I had three operations between February and April. All of them failed, so I have had to try other therapeutic ways. I have had injections just before London.

“I feel I'm at around 90 percent (of full fitness). All three doctors have been shocked how I have bounced back. Two weeks after surgery I ran the Boston Marathon and my doctor said I was insane.

"But I really love wheelchair racing and I love the competitive drive. I did everything to make the team. It would have been hard to be on the sidelines.

“I am excited to be back. Training has gone really well in the last month. London has given me so much support and it was where I won my first gold medal at the (Paralympic) Games.”


Marlou van Rhijn (NED) – women’s 100m & 200m T44

“It’s amazing to be back here. It’s where it all started for me. Every time I enter this stadium it is very special. It feels like a really big event here because the crowd is always so enthusiastic and involved.

“I remember in the 200m at London 2012 I lost my focus about a metre before the line because the crowd were so loud. Normally you don’t hear the crowd because you are so focused but it just gave me goose bumps to hear the crowd so loud. It’s definitely my favourite stadium.

“The 100m for me is always more difficult but that makes it exciting. There are a lot of athletes coming up and running fast, I just need to be faster. Everyone will be at the top of their game because we are back here.

“I’m going for a triple double here – so a hat-trick of two world titles. There is pressure from myself but I see it as an opportunity to defend my titles and that makes me very excited.

“I am very confident, actually. Rio was my toughest Games. After London, having to defend my titles was way more difficult, so I wanted to change some things before coming here. I wanted to be faster.

“I changed my training to Loughborough, which has gone really well. It has added a little to my game. This stadium already feels special to me but now I’m training in Loughborough and a little bit of me feels like it’s a home championships.”