The IPC Athletics World Championships get underway tomorrow in Doha, Qatar, taking place between 22-31 October. Ten days of exhilarating action will be staged at the Suhaim Bin Hamad stadium and the Paralympic and world champion Aled Davies (coach: Ryan Spencer-Jones), who competes in the F42 shot put and discus, attended the international press conference today ahead of the Championships.
Davies, who is defending the two world titles he won in Lyon in 2013, has had mixed fortunes during the 2015 season but is satisfied with his preparation in recent weeks. Despite having a hernia operation ten weeks ago, he is in a confident mood after attending the holding camp ahead of the event in the Middle East.
On the eve of the Championships, the Welshman said: “As the event gets closer, I’m getting more excited to get underway. The British team are absolutely buzzing at the moment. We have a really young and exciting squad who are fearless – that is the most important thing.
“Considering the Championships are later in the year, a lot of the athletes feel their best performances are still to come. It’s exciting to have so many debutants on the team but it is a bit scary to think I am one of the more senior members of the squad now! It’s a great experience for them with Rio just around the corner.”
The 24 year-old will kick start his Championships in the shot put on Thursday morning and will go into the competition as one of the favourites for gold once again.
“I’m intrigued to see what I can do. If you had told me ten weeks ago (after hernia surgery) that I would be here, I’d have been very happy. You can’t just go from zero to 100 so it has been a very gradual build but I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think I could place highly and contend with the big boys.”
Davies added: “I probably come here as the favourite as the reigning Paralympic, world and European champion as well as the world record holder so I suppose I am the guy to beat. But I don’t see that, I want to go in there and deliver a performance and hopefully that will lead to the right colour medal.”
On the opening day, three British reigning world champions get their campaigns underway with Hannah Cockroft (Jenni Banks) taking on the T34 100m final, Sophie Hahn (Joe McDonnell) going in the T38 100m final and Paul Blake (Rob Ellchuk) taking on arch-rival Evgenii Shvetcov of Russia in the semi-finals of the T36 400m.
The opening ceremony takes place this evening with T42 200m sprinter Dave Henson (Roger Keller) carrying the flag for the British team. He described his selection as the flagbearer as ‘the biggest honour’, and he will compete later in the Championships.
Coverage of the IPC Athletics World Championships can be found on More 4 from 2pm on Thursday 22 October 2015.
Alternatively, a live stream of the morning and evening sessions can be found daily on the Paralympic.org website – https://www.paralympic.org/athletics