Star performances from Europeans ahead of Swansea 2014

Victories for Europeans Rehm, Reid and van Rhijn at IPC Athletics Grand Prix in Berlin, Germany. 23 Jun 2014
Stef Reid Berlin Grand Prix

Great Britain's Stef Reid continued her great 2014 season with a long jump T42/44 win at the IPC Athletics Grand Prix in Berlin, Germany.

ⒸLuc Percival

“I think my chances are good. I want to win. I’ve never stood on top of the podium and I want to change that. I want to know what it feels like.”

Great Britain's Stef Reid, Germany's Markus Rehm and the Netherlands' Marlou van Rhijn were amongst a host of European stars to show their form at the 2014 IPC Athletics Grand Prix in Berlin, Germany, today (21 June), in the last major international meeting ahead of August's European Championships.

Reid (5.29m), 29, was delighted with her long jump T42/44 win over German Vanessa Low (4.19m) in cold and windy conditions: "I've been in a good place - a consistent place - for a while. When you start being consistent that's when you can start making those big leaps."

Revealing that after a hugely disappointing 2013 season where she finished fifth at the World Championships and had considered her future in athletics, the London 2012 silver medallist spoke of a renewed vigour in 2014: "I just really believed I could jump further and I couldn't walk away just knowing that I could do better.

"I think my chances are good. I want to win. I've never stood on top of the podium and I want to change that. I want to know what it feels like."

Japan's Mami Sato finished in third.

In the men's T44 long jump, Germany's world record holder Markus Rehm jumped a wind assisted 7.88m to seal first place despite carrying a back injury.

The 25-year-old world champion said: "I am very happy with my third jump. This is very close to my record [7.95m] and PB. I have a bit of back trouble so I had to stop after the fourth jump but I am really happy.

"The wind changed from head wind to tail wind so it was very difficult to plan your run-up. But it worked once and this was enough. I stopped to keep my back healthy for Swansea."

Rehm led Frenchman Jean Babti Alaize (6.34m) and Bayer Leverkeusen teammate Felix Streng (5.80m).

Great Britain's discus F42 world and Paralympic champion Aled Davies (45.95m) also grappled with the weather conditions as he builds to competing in one of the biggest competitions of his career, on home soil at the Euros: "A few tactical niggles today," he said, despite finishing first in the men's discus F42/44, "but it's good to have those now before the European Championships and the Commonwealth Games. It's a learning curve.

"You can't be the greatest every day," the 23-year-old joked after adding to his shot-put win from Friday (20 June). He finished ahead of British F44 world's silver medallist Dan Greaves (58.27m) and Luxembourg's Tom Habscheid (39.39m) on points.

Dutch `blade babe' Marlou van Rhijn came back in the last 10m against Germany's Irmgard Bensusan to post a 13.58 second sprint in the women's T43/44. Getting out of the blocks quickly, Bensusan (13.66) could not hold her momentum against the T43 world champion and world record holder. That leaves van Rhijn in pole position heading into the Euros in Swansea: "I really have to step-up my game and make a fun race," the 22-year-old, who also beat third placed compatriot Marlene van Gansewinkel (14.66) said.

Finland's European champion Leo Pekka-Tahti (14.38) gave himself an early birthday present by winning against German rival Marc Schuh (14.65) and teammate Mattila Esa-Pekka (15.50) in the men's 100m T53/54.

World record holder Tahti, who celebrates his 31st birthday tomorrow, said: "Competing against Marc Schuh is never easy for me. He's a very strong athlete, especially in the 100m, but I won here in a bigger margin than normal.

Looking ahead to Swansea, the flying Fin is quietly confident that he is improving as time goes on: "All goes well. I think that I am in a better shape now than one month ago."

South African London 2012 bronze medallist Arnu Fourie (11.24) meanwhile, came out on top in an epic men's 100m T43/44 three-way fight between himself, Germany's Felix Streng (11.44) and the Netherland's Ronald Hertog (11.80).

Brazil's ever-charismatic Terezinha Guilhermina (12.47) was part of an impressive winning streak for the hosts of Rio 2016. The two-time world champion faced a close battle with Great Britain's Libby Clegg (12.67) and German Katrin Muller-Rottgard (12.83) for victory in the women's T11/12.

Another gold was taken by 18-year-old Brazilian Rio 2016 hopeful Veronica Hipolito (13.12) in the women's T38/46/47, beating British world champion Sophie Hahn (13.32) who finished in third. South Africa's Anrune Liebenberg (13.15) split the pair.

Continuing the Brazilian success on the track was double world champion Yohansson Nascimento (11.58), beating Austria's Mich Hittenberger (11.96) and Lithuanian Ernestas Cesonis (12.55) in the men's 100m T46.

Nascimento's teammate Lucas Prado, 28, went head-to-head with his compatriot Felipe Gomes over 100m in the men's T11, beating him to the line in 11.44 seconds. Gomes held onto Prado to finish in 11.57 and led Turkey's Mehmet Tunc onto the podium (12.55).

The 2014 IPC Athletics Grand Prix continue tomorrow (Sunday).

Featuring around 570 athletes from 34 countries, it is the last major international para-athletics meeting ahead of the 2014 IPC Athletics European Championships from 18-23 August.