I’m absolutely devastated to have pulled out of Swansea. I’ve had a tendonitis problem since Glasgow and unfortunately I’m not in a position to compete at the European Championships. I am determined to come back stronger to ensure that I’m up and running for next year’s World Championships and then the Paralympic Games in Rio.
Great Britain’s four-time London 2012 Paralympic champion David Weir has been forced to withdraw from the 2014 IPC Athletics European Championships in Swansea, Great Britain, due to injury.
Weir, 35, had been named as Great Britain and Northern Ireland (GB & NI) team captain but has not recovered sufficiently from an arm injury sustained during the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games where he won 1,500m T54 gold.
Weir said: “I’m absolutely devastated to have pulled out of Swansea. I’ve had a tendonitis problem since Glasgow and unfortunately I’m not in a position to compete at the European Championships. I am determined to come back stronger to ensure that I’m up and running for next year’s World Championships and then the Paralympic Games in Rio.
“I‘d like to apologise to all the fans, who always come out to support me when I compete and wish the GB & NI team the best of success in Wales.”
Mikail Huggins will now captain the 51-strong GB & NI team for the Championships which open on Monday (18 August).
Huggins, who is guide runner to reigning European 100m and 200m champion Libby Clegg, is delighted to have been awarded the captaincy by Head Coach Paula Dunn, and believes that he can bring confidence to the squad, which includes 14 debutants.
The 30-year-old said: “It’s an honour to be captain but also a big shock too. When I was asked by Paula, I told her I had to go to my room for a bit to gather my thoughts. While I was there I thought to myself that I do have those leadership qualities, I know I’m approachable and I have been to a few major games now.
“As a captain I just want people to see me as that voice of reasoning and I can offer some words of wisdom based on my experiences as an athlete and life in general because I’m one of the oldest members in the team. But you’re never too old to learn, so that’s one of the messages I’ll put out there.
“I also want to highlight that setbacks do happen and success is measured on how you come back from them. I’m sure every team member has had a setback and that’s why they’re in that room now and they’ve managed to bounce back from that now. Love what you do and do what you love, that’s my motto.”
Dunn, who will oversee her first IPC Athletics European Championships in charge of the GB & NI team is confident of a successful championships and knows Huggins will give the team a real boost ahead of the start of Swansea 2014.
“The team is really excited for the forthcoming European Championships in Swansea. Over the last two years, we’ve had a number of athletes come through the pathway and some great new talents who I’m sure we’ll see emerge over the coming week.
“I’m really positive that we will have a successful Championships as we did in Lyon last year, and I’m confident that like with London 2012, the home crowd will really get behind us and spur us on to more medals and great performances.
“Mikail will be a great captain and I know will inspire the athletes to go out on the track and give it their best performance possible. He’s an established figure in the group and I’m sure will motivate everyone over the course of the week.”