Top para-athletes voice Swansea 2014 predictions

Non-Europeans Scott Reardon, Michelle Stilwell, Terezinha Guilhermina and Yohansson Nascimento evaluate the talent for the IPC Athletics European Championships. 16 Aug 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
By Stuart Lieberman | For the IPC

There will be a number of candidates for a star of the Championships.

With the 2014 IPC Athletics European Championships set to take place in Swansea, Great Britain, top non-European para-athletes have given their opinions on who to look out for when the action gets underway.

From 18-23 August, 560 athletes from 37 countries will take part in the event and the following global stars have given their predictions:

Scott Reardon, Australia’s world champion leg amputee sprinter

• Michelle Stilwell, Canada’s three-time Paralympic and seven-time world champion wheelchair racer

• Terezinha Guilhermina, Brazil’s three-time Paralympic and 10-time world champion visually impaired sprinter

• Yohansson Nascimento, Brazil’s Paralympic and two-time world champion double-arm amputee sprinter. What will be the best event of the 2014 IPC Athletics European Championships?

Scott Reardon: The women’s long jump T44 will no doubt be close, with Great Britain’s Stef Reid having extended the world record a few weeks ago. But hot on her heels was France’s Marie-Amelie Le Fur, just 4cm behind. But I think the event of the Championships will come in the men’s 800m T54, with Switzerland’s Marcel Hug so dominant in the past 12 months in the absence of Britain’s David Weir and Aussie Kurt Fearnley. Weir, the 2012 Paralympic champion, will be looking to assert himself as the man to beat once again, while Hug will be keen to prove he is the new man of the T54 races.

Michelle Stilwell: That’s a toss up between the 100m and the 5,000m across the various classes. One for the sheer speed and the other for the tactics that build up the anticipation for who will finish first.

Terezinha Guilhermina: The women’s 100m T37. It’s full of good athletes.

Yohansson Nascimento: I think the speed events between the men’s T44 athletes.

Who will be the star athletes of the Championships?

Reardon: There will be a number of candidates for a star of the Championships. Stef Reid and the German pair of Markus Rehm and Vanessa Low have all extended the long jump records in their respective classes. And the regular names like Britain’s Jonnie Peacock, Hannah Cockroft, Marcel Hug and David Weir will vie for this position. But it also could be a young up-and-coming athlete; someone like German sprinter Felix Streng.

Stilwell: Likely David Weir, if he can pull off successive wins in multiple events as he did at London 2012. But watch for Manuela Schaer of Switzerland to have a strong showing on the women's side.

Guilhermina: Markus Rehm, from Germany.

Nascimento: I think it’s such a high-level competition, that there will be more than one star.

What will be the best rivalry of the Championships?

Reardon: The Weir-Hug rivalry will be the best of the Championships; without doubt they will meet a number of times. The races between these two are much bigger than being crowned European champion. Both will want to take the mental advantage out of the competition, with limited major Championships between now and Rio 2016. This could be the first blow in the battle that will heat up as Rio approaches.

Stilwell: I always look forward to the men’s T54 events, and I am sure spectators will not be let down to see David Weir and Marcel Hug go head-to-head.

Guilhermina: I think between the women’s T12 athletes.

Nascimento: Like I said, there will be so many good athletes that is difficult to point an rivalry. But I would go with the T44 races.

Which country will fare the best at the Championships?

Reardon: Great Britain will again be the team to beat, with so much depth across a range of classifications, a number of Paralympic and world champions and world record-holders, and a history of developing young athletes.

Stilwell: I believe Great Britain, coming off a successful hosting of the 2012 Paralympic Games, will bring the strongest team to the Championships.

Guilhermina: Great Britain.

Nascimento: Great Britain, Ukraine and Germany.

A record 560 athletes from 37 countries will be taking part in the 2014 IPC Athletics European Championships between 18-23 August at Swansea University, Great Britain.

Some tickets, priced at £3, are still available to purchase for Swansea 2014 and can be purchased via the ticket website.

The live stream from Swansea 2014, together with videos on demand of individual races, are available to embed on websites in some territories via the IPC’s YouTube channel. For further information please contact IPC Digital Media Manager Natalia Dannenberg-Spreier.

In addition, HD quality broadcast footage from Swansea 2014 is available from the IPC’s Broadcast Manager Jose Manuel Dominguez.

Daily highlights will be available for digital channels via Omnisport, whilst individual races as video on demand can be embedded via Perform’s e-player.

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