3rd June 2020
REWIND: PARA ATHLETICS EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS
With the 2020 edition of the WPA European Championships – which was due to start this week – postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we rewind the clock to look back at some of the most memorable moments from the event during the last three editions.
2018 – Berlin:
The Great Britain and Northern Ireland team left the German capital with 50 medals in total, and 88 top eight positions, following a successful event for both experienced multi-medallists from previous championships, and those stepping up on the continental stage.
Among those to set Championship records included Sabrina Fortune who won the F20 shot put title for the first time – she would go on to be crowned world champion over 12 months later. Paralympic champions, Hollie Arnold, Hannah Cockroft, Aled Davies, Sophie Hahn and Richard Whitehead all excelled to win titles at the Friedrich-Ludwig-Jahn-Sportpark.
Kare Adenegan sealed her first major title in the T34 100m title, while Hannah Dines and Gavin Drysdale were the inaugural champions in the Race Running events, both coached by the late Janice Eaglesham who was integral in the rise of the discipline which would make its debut at the world championships in Dubai one year later.
Vanessa Wallace (F34 shot put), Harri Jenkins (T33 100m), Thomas Young (T38 100m) and David Devine (T13 5000m) were all first time European champions, while Dillon Labrooy (T54 400m), Ali Smith (T38 400m) and Ross Paterson (T38 400m) among many others to reach the podium at this level for the first time.
A world record for the universal 4x100m relay team closed the proceedings, with Zac Shaw, Laura Sugar, Sophie Hahn and Nathan Maguire confirming their place in the history books as the first ever winners of the race at the Europeans.
2016 – Grosseto:
It was a record-breaking Championships for the British Athletics team in Grosseto in terms of medals won as they improved the previous best, taking home 56 in total.
David Weir sealed four gold medals across the T54 events from the 400m up to the 5000m, and he wasn’t the only multi-gold medallist at the Championships.
Maria Lyle, Aled Davies, Sophie Hahn, Georgie Hermitage and Richard Whitehead triumphed in two or more events, while Jo Butterfield set a then world record in the F51 club throw with a best of 22.75 metres – she would go on to win the Paralympic title later that year.
Jonnie Peacock sealed the T44 100m title ahead of Germany’s Felix Streng, a victory which would prepare him for his second Paralympic triumph later that summer, a boost after missing the world championships at the end of 2015.
Team captains, Sam Ruddock and Hollie Neill, both reached the podium in their respective events, Ruddock winning silver in the F35 shot put, and Neill earning bronze in the F41 discus.
2014 – Swansea
Six years ago, the Europeans took place in the UK at Swansea University.
Home favourite, Aled Davies, secured double European gold – a feat he matched in the next two European Championships – in the F42 shot put and discus, wowing the Welsh crowd in the process.
There was more success for the Welsh athletes on home soil as Kyron Duke won two silvers, in the F41 shot put and javelin, while Rhys Jones, Jordan Howe, Olivia Breen, Laura Sugar and Bradley Wigley were among those to reach the podium in their respective events.
2012 champions Mickey Bushell, Hannah Cockroft and Jonnie Peacock were all winners in Wales, Cockroft winning two titles in the T34 100m and 800m, her first senior title over the latter distance.
52 medals were won by Great Britain and Northern Ireland overall, placing the team third overall in the medal table.