"I think we are going to see some really interesting races."
Paralympic Great and International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Paralympian Ambassador Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson claims that stakes will be high for athletes competing at the 2011 IPC World Championships in Christchurch end of the month.
More than 1,000 athletes from over 70 countries are already on their way to Christchurch, New Zealand, to take part in what is one of the last major gatherings of international athletes before the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
Speaking to www.paralympic.org, the IPC’s website, Grey-Thompson, who won 16 Paralympic medals in her illustrious career, said the upcoming London 2012 Paralympic Games will have an impact on the athletes and their performances in Christchurch.
Grey-Thompson said: “I think there is a lot of pressure on the guys because they all know that how they do and where they finish affects the team places for 2012.
“I think the timing is quite interesting. A lot of the guys, even those from the Southern Hemisphere, are used to competing in a Northern European calendar.
“It’s not only having to address their winter training league towards the worlds, but thinking really carefully about what they do for the next 18 months going into London.
”Thanks to the timing there might be some athletes we weren’t expecting that might just get it right. I think we are going to see some really interesting races.”
Tanni Grey-Thompson will travel to Christchurch herself, taking up a dual role as a presenter for BBC TV, and as coach of Jade Jones, a 15 year old British Paralympic hopeful.
Grey-Thompson said: “For Jade it is not so much about medals but actually getting used to being with the team, travelling and being away for a long time and lots of other things like that.
“I think having a friendly face will help her out a bit as well.
“Jade posted some incredibly fast times this season, so we are quite excited about what she might do.”
Other big names set to compete in Christchurch include South African ‘Blade Runner’ Oscar Pistorius, Swiss ‘Silver Bullet’ Marcel Hug and American wheelchair racer Jessica Galli.