As the clock ticks down towards the start of competition on Tuesday (19 August) at the 2014 IPC Athletics European Championships in Swansea, Great Britain, here are some of the para-athletes that could be making the headlines this week.
Marcel Hug (Switzerland)
There will be no-one more upset at the absence of Great Britain's David Weir, than the Swiss 'Silver Bullet' Marcel Hug. With no Weir however, Hug has the chance to follow up his five world titles from last year with European success in the 400m, 800m, 1,500m and 5,000m. Biazzarely, France's Julien Casoli said he is not impressed by Hug. Let's see if he still thinks the same after Swansea 2014.
Marlou Van Rhijn (The Netherlands)
The Ducth ‘Blade Babe’ was dubbed the world’s fastest female Paralympian last year when she clocked 12.96 seconds over 100m, before going on to win double gold at the IPC Athletics World Championships in Lyon.
The 22-year-old has already broken the 400m T43 world record this year and will be out to clock more fast times in the Welsh city when she competes in the 100m, 200m and 400m.
Markus Rehm (Germany)
All eyes will be on the in-form German Paralympic and world champion who leapt in to the history books last month, smashing his own T44 world best in the long jump to win the German able-bodied Championships.
Rehm’s leap of 8.24m sets him apart from the rest of the field – the question is, how far can he go in Swansea?
Stef Reid (Great Britain) and Marie-Amelie Le Fur (France)
Another long jumper breaking world records this year is Great Britain’s Stef Reid. The 29-year-old added 2cm on to her French rival Marie Amelie Le Fur’s world mark back in May, jumping 5.45m.
The pair then lined up in at the Glasgow Grand Prix Diamond League meeting last month, and it was Reid who stole the show once more, leaping to 5.47m.
Le Fur – who won the 100m T44 at the Paralympic Games in London - meanwhile has been focussing on the field events this season and will be determined to reclaim her place at the top of the world.
Jonnie Peacock (Great Britain) and Felix Streng (Germany)
Jonnie Peacock became the star of British Paralympic sprinting when he clinched gold in the highly anticipated 100m T44 at the Games in London, but the 21-year-old won’t be taking anything for granted with the likes of Germany’s young sprint sensation Felix Streng making his own headlines this season, winning in Grosetto, Italy and finishing a close second in Berlin, Germany, behind South African Arnu Fourie.
Leo-Pekka Tahti (Finland) and Kenny van Weeghel (the Netherlands)
Pekka Tahti and van Weeghel have dominated the T54 wheelchair sprints in recent years; at the 2012 European Championships the Flying Finn won the 100m with his Dutch rival taking second, then in the 400m they swapped positions with van Weeghel taking gold.
It was a similar story at Lyon, France, last year with Pekka Tahti winning the 100m and van Weeghel the 200m – can either athlete make it a double victory in Swansea?
Aled Davies (Great Britain)
The home favourite and double world champion from Bridgend, South Wales, will be hoping he can give the local crowds something to cheer about in the shot put and discus F42.
Davies clinched world gold in the shot put and discus last summer to add to the discus gold he won at London 2012. With a discus world record already under his belt this year, the 23-year-old has already said that he would love to throw even further on home soil.
Jason Smyth (Ireland)
Ireland’s sprint sensation will be the one to watch in the men’s T12 sprints for visually impaired para-athletes. The 27-year-old holds the T13 world records in both the 100m and 200m and has a trophy cabinet bursting with silverware, having won double gold at the Paralympic Games in 2008 and 2012, as well as double world gold in Lyon last year.
Smyth clocked 10.66 at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, and with the four-time Paralympic champion in that sort of form, watch out for more world records this week.
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 from 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.