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Wheelchair stars line up for European Championships

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UK Athletics has named five athletes to compete in the wheelchair events at the European Championships next month. The races, which form part of the main athletics programme will be a men’s 1500m wheelchair championship and a women’s 800m wheelchair championship.

 

Brian Alldis, Tushar Patel and Dave Weir, and Dame Tanni Grey Thompson and Shelly Woods will represent the Norwich Union GB and NI team in what will form a key part of their preparations for the IPC World Champiohsips in Assen 2-10 September.

 

Meanwhile, ten of Britain¹s top young disabled athletes were in action in Dublin at the weekend to compete for titles at the second World Junior Athletics Championships.

 

Brian Alldis, Mickey Bushell and Nathan Stephens who are all lottery funded through UK Athletics¹ World Class programme - lead the British contingent at the championships, which also included Thomas Digney, Dominic Chesire, David Lewis, Joshua Morgan, Samuel Scott, Douglas Stone and Aled Davies.

 

Bridgend teenager Nathan Stephens showed why he is tipped for the top by finishing the javelin and shot on top and the discus in second place.

 

The 18 year-old multi-sport athlete, who recently represented Great Britain at the Paralympic Winter Games in Turin, won the under-20 shot put with a throw of 11.12 metres, ahead of Ireland¹s Jamie Boyle in second place with a throw of 7.99 metres.

Stephens went on to win the under-23 javelin with an enormous throw of 33.1 metres, with fellow Brit David Lewis in 3rd with his throw of 12.34 metres, but Stephens had to settle for second place in the under-20 discus despite a huge throw of 32.85 metres.

 

Stephens said: “Things went well for me at the weekend especially in the javelin because I threw a PB in that.

 

“I just went out there and threw the best I could and I couldn’t really have asked for any better.

 

“I’m going to be doing extra training now to prepare myself for the worlds. I’m going to Assen for the experience because I don’t want to put any pressure on myself as I’m still young and it is a senior competition.

 

“I just want to go out there and do the best I can but if I did come away with a medal then that would be fantastic.”

Bury-St-Edmunds athlete Brian Alldis put in top performances to place 3rd in the under-23 200m on the first day of competition before going on to also place 3rd in the 100m and 4th in the 400m with fellow GB athlete Dominic Chesire placing 9th, 7th and 10th respectively in these events.

 

Alldis and Chesire were up against tough competition however from Athens Paralympic Games medallist and world junior number one, Marcel Hug from Switzerland, who took the title in all three of these events.

 

Sixteen year-old Telford athlete Mickey Bushell was also up against tough competition in the under 18 category from USA¹s Jordan Bird and New Zealand¹s Daniel O¹Dwyer, who placed 1st and 2nd respectively in the 100m, 200m and 800m, while Bushell placed 8th in all three.

 

Because athletes were competing in mixed classification groups a combined points system was in place for the 100m and 200m, which saw athletes earning more points the closer they were to the world record for their category, which went towards a final combined score.

 

Under this system, Bushell took a silver medal and Alldis a bronze for their performances in the 100m and 200m combined.

Along with Stephens and Alldis, Bushell was last week named by UK Athletics as part of the squad to represent Great Britain and Northern Ireland at the IPC World Athletics Championships in September, so these performances will put them in good stead ahead of the championships in Assen, Holland.

 

Sixteen year-old Thomas Digney also showed a lot of promise over the weekend by finishing 1st in the under-18 shot put with a throw of 8.46 metres ahead of India¹s Kumar Bharath in second and Britain¹s Aled Davies in 3rd.

 

Despite a strong throw of 26.99 metres, Digney had to settle for 5th place in the under 20 javelin.

 

Aled Davies, competing in the under 16 category for his next two events, managed a 1st place in the discus and 2nd in the javelin with team-mate Joshua Morgan finishing 3rd in both. Wheelchair racer Douglas Stone finished 3rd in all three of his events the under 20 100m, 200m and 400m.

 

Track coach Paul Hunt, who was at the competition with the athletes, said: “Brian Alldis did particularly well as he came third in the 100m and 200m, which resulted in him taking away a bronze medal for the combined result.

 

“He was up against a really hard field with Marcel Hug and Sebastian Cleem, who are both going the world championships ­ so this was really good preparation for Brian, who is also going, as he was not that far off these two.

 

Mickey Bushell also did really well as he raced a PB in the 200m with his time of 29.72 seconds and with the combined 100m and 200m score system he came second overall for his category.

 

Hunt, who coaches Bushell said: “For Mickey now we will really just be concentrating on preparation for the World Championships. We¹re really pleased that he has made the squad and if he can make the finals at the championships then he will have done really well.”

 

The International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS) World Junior Championships took place at Morton Stadium in Dublin from July 15 to July 16 and featured more than 105 athletes from 17 countries.