On the day that marks exactly one year to go until the London 2012 Paralympic Games (29 August), Stoke Mandeville Stadium will play host to 77 athletes from 15 different countries as it stages an International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Shooting approved international competition.
Among the British athletes taking part in the three day event, which will run until 31 August, is eight-time Paralympic medallist Deanna Coates, Beijing finalist Nathan Milgate and Matt Skelhon, who will be looking to defend his Paralympic title at next year’s Games.
Matt Skelhon said: “I am looking forward to the upcoming event as it is a great opportunity to compete on home turf one year out from the Games. It's great to have competitors coming so far afield. I am confident I will perform to a high standard and my training has been going very well.”
The meeting will give shooters, some of whom are from Australia and New Zealand, a valuable opportunity to compete on British soil. It will also give the public an opportunity to see some of the best shooters in the world perform so close to London 2012.
Event organizers hope the event will help create awareness of disability sport and promote real talent and opportunities for people with an impairment.
Martin McElhatton, Chief Executive for WheelPower, the national charity and disability sports organization for wheelchair sport, said: “This will be a fantastic event. WheelPower is keen to see different sports showcased at Stoke Mandeville Stadium so that young people can enjoy a wide variety of sports. We hope this event encourages disabled people to try shooting for themselves so that the sport can grow even further in the future.”
Pasan Kularatne, Head Coach and Performance Manager for the GB Team, said: “I am pleased that we are able to host this event for the second consecutive year and I am looking forward to it. The athletes of the GB Team are in good form and this will be a very exciting competition a year before Paralympic Games.”