Preview: IPC Athletics Marathon World Championships

London, Great Britain, will see a 120 of the world’s best para-athletes in action with world titles up for grabs. 25 Apr 2015
David Weir and Marcel Hug attend the photocall for the 2015 IPC Athletics Marathon World Championships at Tower Hotel.

David Weir and Marcel Hug attend the photocall for the 2015 IPC Athletics Marathon World Championships at Tower Hotel.

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More than 120 para-athletes are set to line up at the start of the 2015 Virgin Money London Marathon on Sunday (26 April) bidding for gold in the IPC Athletics World Marathon Championships, which form part of the marathon programme in the British capital this year.

Global track and field titles will be decided at October’s IPC Athletics World Championships in Doha, Qatar.

Eight races will be run over London’s 26.2 mile course, with medals at stake in the following events:

Men’s T11/12

Morocco’s long distance star El Amin Chentouf has dominated T12 distance running in recent years, winning twice here in London at the IPC Marathon World Cup since the inaugural race in 2013, when he smashed the world record with a time of 2:24:00.

The 33-year-old then went on to clinch a hat-trick of gold medals at the IPC Athletics World Championships in France, winning 5,000m and 10,000m gold before rounding off a successful championships with victory in the marathon.

Chentouf is part of a stellar line up in the event this year, with Paralympic marathon T12 champion Alberto Suarez Laso, who failed to finish in Lyon, back on the city’s streets alongside the two men who finished on the podium in Lyon alongside Chentouf - Columbia's Elkin Serna Moreno and Portugal's Gabriel Macchi.

Japan's Shinya Wada and Portugal's Joaquim Machado, silver and bronze medallists in the marathon T11 in Lyon, are also part of the 21-strong line-up.

Men’s T13

Morocco’s world 1,500m silver medallist Youssef Benbrahim finished second over 5,000m behind Chentouf at the IPC Athletics Grand Prix in Dubai earlier this year.

The fastest on paper, he heads up a field of six racers, including Russia’s Aleksei Akhtyamov, who set a new European T13 record on his way to 5,000m silver at the IPC Athletics European Championships in Swansea, Great Britain, last year.

Men’s T42/44

Israel’s Eitan Hermon goes in the men’s T42-44. The 40-year-old has a personal best of 3:00:46.

Men’s T45/46

Italy’s reigning world marathon champion Alessandro di Lello is one of 14 para-athletes from the T45/46 classes taking to the streets of London.

Mexico’s Pedro Meza and Brazil’s Ezekuiel Costa, will hope to challenge for a place on the podium once again.

So too will another talented Brazilian, 48-year-old Tito Sena, the Paralympic champion and winner in London’s IPC Athletics World Cup race last year. Watch out too for Spain’s Abderrahman Ait Khamouch – Paralympic silver medallist in 2012.

Men’s 51/52

American Raymond Martin returns to London for the second time, and takes on his first World Championship marathon having won five gold medals on the track in Lyon in 2013.

Determined to keep his medal-winning momentum going, Martin will have to be at his best to clinch gold ahead of Spain’s Santiago Sanz, world ranked number one last year and the 2014 London marathon champion.

Men’s T53/54

A highly anticipated race featuring the return to major championships of Great Britain’s David Weir. The Paralympic marathon champion will be hoping for plenty of support from the home crowds as he looks to secure a record-breaking seventh London Marathon title – and of course a World Championship gold medal.

The ‘Swiss Silver Bullet’ Marcel Hug, winner in Boston on Monday (20 April), cannot wait to take on his British rival as he bids to retain the global title he won in Lyon. Japan’s Kota Hokinoue, Poland’s Tomasz Hamerlak, South Africa’s Ernst van Dyk and Canada’s Josh Cassidy are amongst a world class field.

Women’s T11/12

Spain’s Maria Paredes Rodriguez smashed her own world record over the London course last year, having also won the inaugural IPC World Cup race 12 months earlier in world record time.

Rodriguez goes for gold alongside eight other para-athletes, including Russia’s Elena Pautova, the Paralympic, world and European gold medallist in the 1,500m T12.

Women’s T53/54

A field of 14 racers is headed up by the American Tatyana McFadden. The 25-year-old won back-to-back marathons in Boston, London, Chicago and New York in 2013 and 2014, and arrived in London having triumphed once more in Boston.

Switzerland’s defending world marathon champion Manuela Schaer – second behind McFadden in London last year – will be hoping to turn the tables, whilst Japan’s Wakako Tsuchida should not be dismissed. Watch out too for four other impressive American racers – Amanda McGrory, Shirley Reilly, Susannah Scaroni and Chelsea McClammer.