Preview: World Para Athletics Marathon World Cup

A look ahead to Sunday’s Virgin Money London Marathon in Great Britain. 22 Apr 2017
group of men in racing wheelchairs pass spectators

Japan's Soejima Masazumi, Great Briitain's David Weir, Australia's Kurt Fearnley, Switzerland's Marcel Hug and Japan's Nobukazu Hanaoka compete in the men's T54 marathon on Day 11 of London 2012.

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Three reigning champions will line up at the World Para Athletics Marathon World Cup, which takes place in London, Great Britain on Sunday (23 April) as part of the Virgin Money London Marathon.

Japan’s Yutaka Kumagai will be hoping to defend his men’s T11/12 title. The 30-year-old visually impaired runner faces a strong field including five fellow Japanese Para athletes – 2013 world silver medallist Shinya Wada; Tadashi Hirokoshi, fourth in the marathon T12 at Rio 2016; Masahiro Taniguchi, Masato Hatate and Satoru Yoneoka. Keep an eye out for Portugal’s 2013 world bronze medallist Joaquim Machado.

The men’s T53/54 defending champion Marcel Hug will be hoping to notch up his third win over the streets of London, but he faces a strong field including the likes of Australia’s Kurt Fearnley, silver medallist behind Hug at Rio 2016, and Japan’s Sho Watanabe, winner of the Tokyo marathon in February.

Watch out too for local favourite David Weir who is aiming for a record seventh London marathon win.

The defending champion and four-time winner in the women’s T53/54 is Tatyana McFadden – unfortunately the American was not able to make the trip across the Atlantic due health issues. Her compatriot Amanda McGrory and Swiss racer Manuela Schär are amongst those hoping to take the win in London this year.

The USA’s T52 wheelchair racer Ray Martin has won the T51/52 World Cup event for the last two years. A hat-trick of victories awaits – if he can get past the likes of Spain’s 2014 winner, Santiago Sanz.

Seven Para athletes line up in the men’s T45/46 event, including Brazil’s Alex Pires da Silva, who failed to finish the marathon at Rio 2016, but did win silver at the Marathon World Championships in London two years ago.

Pires, 26, has the fastest personal best but don’t dismiss the likes of Portugal’s Paralympic bronze medallist Manuel Mendes, Italy’s 2013 world champion Alessandro di Lello and Morocco’s Abdelhadi El Harti. Local support will no doubt be cheering on Great Britain’s Derek Rae.

The women’s T11/12 race features six Para athletes, including another impressive Japanese runner, Misato Michishita. Silver medallist at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, Michishita is the fastest on paper with a personal best of 2:59:21.

Just behind her with a personal best of 2:59:22 is Spain’s Maria Paredes Rodriguez, World Cup winner in 2013 and 2014.

Two Para athletes make up the T13 entries – Poland’s Patryk Lukaszewski and London-based New Zealander Tim Prendergast.