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iwas world juniors marks 500 days to go to london 2012

Hannah Cockroft

15 April 2011

Sunday 17 April marks the first day of competition for the Aviva Great Britain & Northern Ireland team at the IWAS World Junior Championships in Dubai and 500 days to go until the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

IPC Athletics World Championships double gold medallist Hannah Cockcroft (coach: Peter Eriksson) - who makes her debut in the global under-23 event - heads up the 25-strong squad in the UAE.

The T34 multiple World Record holder and reigning Virgin Mini London Marathon champion, who will see someone else take that title when the capital event takes place this Sunday, made a significant breakthrough in domestic competition in 2010 and is on course to make a huge global impact when she lines up in four events.

“It’s a bit weird that I’m doing it backwards,” said the 18-year-old, referring to her outing at senior level in New Zealand in January prior to her IWAS Junior Championships debut, “but it’ll be great to see the potential competition I’ll have in London and I’m really looking forward to that, it’s an amazing opportunity...I just can’t believe there are only 500 days to go to the Paralympics!”

“I had a month off after New Zealand so I’ve only been training for about a month and a half,” she continued, “but I’m back at it full time, I feel fit and I’ve had some really good sessions.

“Obviously I want to win four gold medals and set four World Records here (in Dubai), but the most important thing is to clock fast times. I’m working hard on my whole technique now and this is another opportunity to put that into practice and race well for qualifying standards for London - I really want to make that team!”

World Championship (senior) individual bronze medallists Hollie Arnold, two-time defending World Junior champion Aled Davies, Kyron Duke (all coached by Anthony Hughes) and Sally Brown (coach: Philip Tweedy) also add valuable experience to the squad of under-23 athletes.

The quartet, podium finishers in New Zealand in the F46 javelin, F42 discus, F40 javelin and T46 200m respectively, are joined by wheelchair racer Dan Lucker (coach: Jenny Archer) who dominated in the T54 category 12 months ago to win a total of six medals, including five gold.

Ola Abidogun (coach: Steve Thomas), Holly Neill (coach: Andrew Roda), Vicky Silk (coach: Anthony Hughes) and Owain Taylor (coach: Anthony Hughes), also victorious in 2010, return in a bid to retain their World Junior titles, while Jenny McLoughlin (coach: Darrell Maynard), a member of the senior World Championships T35-48 4 x 100m bronze medal winning quartet, will target an individual podium finish on this occasion.

Aviva GB & NI team leader Paula Dunn added: “Obviously we’re very excited and with the landmark of 500 days to go and it means that IWAS 2011 takes on even greater significance this time around - it’s a timely reminder to us all how important every competition is going forward.

“We had a hugely successful World Junior Championships in the Czech Republic last year where we won a total of 43 medals, and I’m confident we can exceed that figure in Dubai.”

More than 4,200 athletes from around 150 countries will participate in the London 2012 Paralympic Games competing in 20 different sports from 29 August 2012.

Ticket prices will be announced on 10 May 2011 with tickets going on-sale on Friday 9 September 2011. To register for tickets, please visit www.tickets.london2012.com/

International Paralympic Day, an IPC event which aims to showcase elite Paralympic Sport will take place in Trafalgar Square, London on 8 September 2011.

AVIVA GB & NI TEAM FOR IWAS WORLD JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS, DUBAI, 17-21 APRIL

Ola Abidogun (Steven Thomas): T46 100m/200m

Jonathan Adams (Malcolm Wallace): F34 Discus/Shot Putt

Hollie Arnold (Anthony Hughes): F46 Javelin

Joshua Bain (Paul Welch): F37 Discus/Shot Putt

Sally Brown (Philip Tweedy): T46 100m/200m

Sean Clare (Shelley Holroyd): F40 Discus/Shot Putt

Joshua Clark (Anthony Hughes): F37 Shot Putt

Hannah Cockroft (Peter Eriksson): T34 100m/200m/400m/800m

Aled Davies (Anthony Hughes): F42 Discus/Shot Putt

Kyron Duke (Anthony Hughes): F40 Discus/Javelin/Shot Putt

Thomas Green (Ken Green): F32 Discus/Club Throw

Ashleigh Hellyer (Anthony Hughes): F32 Shot Putt

Matthew Hickling (Paul Moseley):T34 100, 200m 400m

Daniel Lucker (Jenny Archer): T54 100m/200m/400m/800m/1500m/5000m

Jenny McLoughlin (Darrell Maynard): T37 100m/200m

Dean Miller (Bud Baldaro): T37 800m/1500m

Scott Moorhouse (Shelley Holroyd): F42 Javelin

Joshua Morgan (Anthony Hughes): F46 Shot Putt/Discus

Holly Neill (Andrew Roda): F40 Shot Putt/Discus

Vicky Silk (Anthony Hughes): F40 Shot Putt/Discus

William Smith (Jenny Archer): T54 100m/200m/400m/800m

Louis Speight (Andrew Henderson): T34 100m/200m/400m

Owain Taylor (Anthony Hughes): F57 Shot Putt/Discus

Kieran Tscherniawsky (Jim Edwards): F33 Discus

Shannon Wallace (Mikail Huggins): T35 100m