The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) have released a 35-strong list that points out the “Ones to Watch” at the 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships in Lyon this July and four of the stars hail from Great Britain.
Most of the British names are to be expected. They include quadruple gold medal-winning wheelchair racer David Weir, double Paralympic wheelchair sprinter Hannah Cockroft and 100m gold medalist Jonnie Peacock. The three huge names are also accompanied by little-known discus thrower Dan Greaves. The athlete, who won silver at London 2012 and has been present at the last four Paralympic Games – the first of which he won gold in Athens – participates in the F44 category and his inclusion amongst the big names of Paralympic athletics is sure to raise his profile.
The list comes at a time when disability sport is witnessing a resurgence. Despite an unprecedented following during the London Games and promises of a legacy, news of the Paralympic stars has been a bit thin on the ground. This month, however, Channel 4 promised they would broadcast over 45 hours of the Sochi 2014 Winter Paralympics, as well as around 500 hours of the Rio Paralympics in 2016. As well as the news of a Grand Prix circuit of Paralympic sport taking place throughout the year and several other events mixing it up with the regular athletics meetings – think the Paralympic events that took place at the Glasgow International Match last month – the future is looking particularly bright for disabled athletes and ParalympicsGB.
With Sochi about a year away, I’ll start to keep a close eye on British Winter Paralympic hopefuls, as I admit to be woefully uneducated about the whole thing (I’ve never watched a minute of it, I nearly caught some wheelchair curling the other day, though…). As the big occasion draws near, expect plenty of updates running alongside those from the Winter Olympics.