Star wheelchair athletes will compete at race event in Paralympics’ birthplace

British Paralympian David Weir, right, with his coach Jenny Archer
British Paralympian David Weir, right, with his coach Jenny Archer

Top paralympians will compete in a Grand Prix event at Stoke Mandeville Stadium this weekend.

The sportsmen and women – inclduing six-times gold medallist David Weir and serial world record breaker Hannah Cockroft – take part in the British Wheelchair Athletics Association Grand Prix on both Saturday and Sunday.

Track athletes are set to race in distances between 100m and 1,500m while the field athletes will compete in discuss, club, javelin and shot.

They will be striving for the times or distances needed to qualify them for the upcoming IPC European Champoinships in Swansea.

Stoke Mandeville was the birthplace of the Paralympic movement, with the first major showcase of wheelchair sport being held here in 1948, and the stadium has witnessed many World Class athletic performances since that time.

The iconic venue, owned by WheelPower, is also the place many athletes first discover sport through the charities junior sport programme.

Jamie Cater, 19, made his debut in the London 2012 Paralympics, and he said: “I’m looking forward to returning & racing again at Stoke Mandeville. It’s a great track and venue to compete at, and it’s a track I have set some of my fastest time on.

“I really want to be selected for the European Championships in Swansea this August and represent Great Britain again, so this weekend is very important for me to set the times.

“I started going to Stoke Mandeville when I was 11 years old by attending the WheelPower Junior Games and camps. This is where I met some of my disabled friends of today.

“I always looked forward to returning to the camps to meet up with friends and have ago at a lot of different sports.”