A look ahead to the World Para Athletics Championships 2018 in Berlin
Nine Welsh athletes are among the 52 strong British Athletics team (19% of the overall team from Wales) set to compete at the World Para Athletics European Championships in Berlin, Germany from 20th to the 26th of August.
Included in the team is Aled Davies who will be looking to retain the titles he won at the last edition of the championships in Grosetto two years ago.
Featuring around 700 athletes from nearly 40 countries, the competition will be held at the Friedrich Ludwig Jahn Sports Park, a top-rated venue that has staged several World Para Athletics Grand Prix meetings in the past.
Disability Sport Wales Performance Pathway Officer Nathan Stephens will be on the coaching team.
Athletes selected are the following:
Aled Davies MBE
• Having started of his sporting career in a Disability Sport Wales swimming club, he switched to focus on athletics at the age of 14. Aled rapidly progressed through UKA Development and Podium Programmes becoming one of Britain’s hottest Paralympic stars.
• Aled Davies made his mark at the London 2012 Paralympic Games after winning his first Paralympic medal on day two of the competition; bronze in the F42/44 shot putt with a distance of 13.78m. Success for the athlete didn't end there, Davies went on to win gold in the F42 discus in front of a packed crowd at the Olympic Stadium with a winning throw of 46.14m.
• A huge honour was bestowed on the athlete from Bridgend when he was selected to be Captain of Team Wales at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, and he didn’t disappoint as he grabbed a Silver in the mixed-class event F42/44 Discus.
• In the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, Davies won a gold medal in the F42 shot put, beating his nearest rivals by over a metre with a new Paralympic record of 15.97m.
• Aled is the current double European Champion in the F42 Discus and Shot event, and his aim is to maintain those titles albeit he’ll be competing in a new combined event F63 (combination of athletes with the classification status of F42, F61 & F63 athletes)
• Before making the transition to Athletics, Jordan used to swim at national level. He began to get more involved in Athletics after attending a Wheelchair Spectacular event hosted at the NIAC in Cardiff.
• At London 2012, Jordan made his first Paralympic final, where he finished 7th in the T35 100m in a time of 13.69 seconds.
• Jordan won Bronze medals in both the 100m & 200m at the IPC European Athletics Championships held in Swansea in 2014.
• Finalist at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games in the T35 100m & 200m
• Silver medalist at the World Para Athletics World Championships held in the Queen Elizabeth Stadium, London in 2017 in the T35 100m.
• Harri makes his senior international debut for British Athletics at these European Championships in the T33 100m Wheelchair Racing event.
• Harri has been involved in the Disability Sport Wales programme from the young age of 9 years old, firstly identified into the Para Swimming programme.
• Inducted into the SSE Next Generation programme in 2015 which supports talented athletes on their pathway to Paralympic success.
• He transitioned into Wheelchair Basketball, becoming a club member of Archers Wheelchair Basketball Club in Cardiff. He progressed to become a pivotal member of the Welsh Under 19 & 23s team, with the highlight captaining the Under 23 team to a Celtic Cup Gold.
• Was a member of the GB Under 22 team who won Gold at the European U22 Championships
• Is currently ranked World Number 2 in the T33 100m event.
• At the age of two, Rhys Jones says he “cheated death” and was resuscitated three times. But remarkably, he has grown up to become one of Wales’ most talented Paralympic sprinters. • He has represented Great Britain at two Paralympic Games - London 2012 and Rio 2016. And in 2017, he finished fifth at the World Para Athletics Championships in London.
• He has already claimed medal honours for Wales, crossing the finish line with bronze at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
• He is coached by four-time Olympian and double Commonwealth Games medalist Christian Malcolm. He arrived in the sport “by accident”. His talent was spotted when he went along with a friend to local football club RCT Tigers.
• Steve is a British record holder over both 800m and 1500m in the T20 class. A Paralympian back in 2012, the Welshman has pulled on a British vest multiple times times, competing at the 2013 World Championships as well as the European championships in Grosseto, a competition in which he finished just outside the podium places in the 800m field.
• Morris represented ParalympicsGB at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games where he finished sixth in the 1500m.
• In 2017 Morris again represented Great Britain at World Championship level when he finished fifth in the 5000m in front of a home crowd in London.
• Steve is part of the successful Team Thie training group in Cardiff, led by Coach James Thie
Hollie Arnold MBE
• Paralympic, World & Commonwealth Gold medalist Hollie Arnold will now be aiming to add the European title to her name. She has been a firm fixture in the GB team ever since she made her Paralympic debut at Beijing 2008. She was just 14-years-old and the youngest member of Team GB.
• Claiming World Junior Championship medals in 2009, 2010 and 2011, she broke onto the senior scene with a bronze at the IPC Athletics World Championships in 2011.
• She finished fifth at the London 2012 Paralympics and is a three-time World Champion gold medalist, having triumphed in 2013, 2015 and most recently in 2017 in London.
• She also became the Paralympic Games gold medalist at Rio 2016 after recovering from injury.
• 2018 has been an epic year already winning Gold at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games having to break the World Record on her last throw to overturn the mark set in the previous round by her closest ally, the Kiwi Holly Robinson.
• Olivia made a name for herself at the London 2012 Paralympic Games when she raced in the T38 100m and 200m sprints. She also helped the GB T35-38 4 x 100m team secure bronze after she ran the first leg.
• She also represented Wales at the 2014 Commonwealth Games – this time in the long jump, narrowly missing out on the medal table, finishing fourth.
• She added a bronze and a silver medal in the 100m and the 4 x 100m respectively to the medal collection at Swansea’s IPC European Championships in 2014.
• At the 2016 Paralympics in Rio, she finished 7th in the 100m and 12th in the long jump. In 2017, her training and focus really paid off. She became IPC World Champion in the long jump.
• 2018 has really started on the right note winning Gold and setting a new Games record at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in the T38 Long Jump, while capturing bronze in the 100m event. Unfortunately, due to injury Livvy will not be competing in the Long Jump in Berlin but will race the 100m.
• Laura Sugar was a Welsh international hockey player before she started competing in athletics in 2013 after being inspired by the Paralympic Games in 2012.
• Sugar finished fourth and fifth in the 200m and 100m respectively at her maiden World Championships in 2013 but the Welsh athlete went on to claim two bronze medals in the same events at the European Championships in Swansea a year later.
• In 2016 she again claimed 200m bronze at the European Championships but upgraded her 100m bronze to silver before going on to finish fifth in both events at Rio 2016.
• She competed in front of a home crowd at the IPC World Championships in London but didn't make the podium.
• Sabrina was identified through the Special Olympics system and was invited to be part of the Disability Sport Wales pathway programme.
• In 2014, she travelled to São Paulo to take part in the Brazilian Paralympic School Games, winning gold in the F20 shot put.
• The following year Fortune was selected for the Great Britain team to compete at the 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships in Doha, finishing just outside the medal positions in fourth place.
• At the 2016 Rio Paralympics, competing in the shot put. threw a personal best of 12.94 m to win the bronze medal.