Ten para-athletics questions we hope will be answered in 2015

With the New Year now upon us, we look at 10 questions relating to the forthcoming para-athletics season that we all want answering! 02 Jan 2015
Man in red jersey with silver helmet and a Swiss flag smiling to the camera

Marcel Hug showed an impressive performance winning the men's 5000m T54 race at Swansea 2014 IPC Athletics European Championships

ⒸSporting Wales
By IPC Athletics

1. Can Marcel Hug finally beat David Weir in a major event?

Although he won four world and three European titles in 2013 and 2014, Switzerland’s Hug has yet to beat Britain’s Weir to gold in a major championships. Multi-world and Paralympic champion Weir was absent from the last two major events but is expected on the start line in Doha where hopefully the question will be answered!

2. Who will come out on top in the Hahn, Hipolito, Goncharova rivalry?

British and Brazilian teenagers Sophie Hahn and Veronica Hipolito shared the spoils over 100m and 200m at the 2013 World Championships but it was Goncharova who won the titles in 2014, beating Hahn to European gold over 100m and 400m. The contests between the three in 2015 could see a number of world records fall.

3. Who can beat the USA’s Tatyana McFadden?

After becoming the first woman to win six world titles (100m through to 5,000m T54) in one event in 2013, McFadden has since completed two marathon Grand Slams.

She is not invincible however and did suffer a rare loss to Switzerland’s Manuela Schaer in November’s Tokyo marathon. She also finished second in the 2014 world rankings over 100m behind Finland’s Amanda Kotaja, so may not have things all her own way in 2015.

4. Can Terezinha Guilhermina finally break 12 seconds?

Even before London 2012, Brazil’s multi Paralympic and world champion Guilhermina was stating her desire to run the 100m in under 12 seconds. In London she ran 12.01, while her fastest times in 2013 and 2014 were 12.16 and 12.17 respectively.

Hopefully with the Chinese duo of Cuiqing Liu and Yan Chen posing strong opposition, 2015 could be the year she finally breaks the barrier.

5. Can the Richard Browne Jonnie Peacock rivalry get any more intense?

It is an understatement to say the USA’s Richard Browne and Great Britain’s Jonnie Peacock are not the best of friends. Whilst Browne holds the 100m and 200m T44 world records, it is Peacock who holds the 100m T44 Paralympic and world titles. After going 2014 unbeaten in para-athletics, Browne will be even more determined to win his first gold against Peacock who has a reputation for delivering his best when it matters.

6. How will van Rhijn respond to rivalry?

The Dutch blade runner has enjoyed great success at the Paralympic Games, World and European Championships and currently holds the 100m, 200m and 400m T43 world records. In 2014, a season which saw French rival Marie Amelie le Fur focus more on the long jump, Germany’s Irmgard Bensusan emerged as a serious rival for van Rhijn, pushing her close in all sprint events.

All eyes will be on how this rivalry grows in 2015.

7. Scott Reardon v Heinrich Popow – who will be crowned 100m T42 world champion?

Reardon and Popow ran 12.68 to tie for gold at the 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships and the two are likely to go head-to-head at Doha 2015. The focus should not just be on the Australian and the German however. Thailand’s Tawatchai Morapat topped the world rankings ahead of Reardon in 2014, whilst Japan’s Atsushi Yamamoto was ranked third, one place ahead of Popow.

8. How far can Stef Reid jump?

Britain’s Stef Reid had a year to remember in 2014, taking the European long jump title and breaking the world record twice. With France’s Marie Amelie le Fur pushing her all the way in 2015 and the Netherlands’ Iris Pruysen determined to retain her world title, Reid may have to jump further than ever before to win the biggest title of her career.

9. Campbell or Greaves for world discus gold?

The rivalry between the USA’s Jeremy Campbell and Britain’s Dan Greaves goes back years, and it is the American world record holder who struck gold at London 2012 and Lyon 2013. But after breaking the 60m barrier for the first time in 2014 to top the world ranking, Greaves will be optimistic of landing the discus world title he won in 2002, 2006 and 2011.

10. What events should I look out for in 2015?

The biggest event of the year is the IPC Athletics World Championships in Doha, Qatar, between 22-31 October, which is likely to attract 1,300 athletes from 90 countries.

Away from Doha, America’s best track and field stars will compete in August’s Parapan American Games in Toronto.

Kicking it all off however is the IPC Athletics Grand Prix which returns for a third year and will see 10 meetings take place between February and July.