As the Rio Paralympics Games looms ever closer, the biggest para-athletics event of the summer of 2014 takes place in Wales as Swansea hosts the IPC European Athletics Championships, with daily live coverage on Channel 4’s digital station More4.
Some 199 gold medals are up for grands over five days of competition at Swansea University’s International Sports Village, with a record 560 athletes from 37 countries expected to compete.
The championships is the biggest major multi-day para-sport event to be staged in the UK since London 2012 and large crowds are expected across all five days, following a late ticket surge as a result of the increased exposure para-sport received during the recent Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
It’s the fourth edition of the European Championships, following on from the 2012 edition in Stadskanaal, where Great Britain’s athletes came home with seven gold medals, just two months before the London 2012 Games, though some of the country’s best athletes did not compete in the Netherlands two years ago.
They will be this time, however, as hosts Great Britain have named a 56-strong team for their home competition, featuring 10 current Paralympic and world champions, with all getting an excellent opportunity to assess their current form.
An impressive selection of Team GB’s leading para-athletes will be taking part, among them Jonnie Peacock, Hannah Cockroft, Richard Whitehead and David Weir, all now household names thanks to their exploits two years ago in London.
All of them were heroes of the London Paralympic Games and are now half way through their preparations for the next Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2016.
The British team will be hoping for encouraging performances from Sophie Hahn, Scott Jones and Welsh hom favourite Aled Davies, who all won gold at the world championships last year in Lyon.
From across the continent, top stars include Jason Smyth and Michael McKillop (Ireland), Mare-Amelie Le Fur (France), the world’s fastest female blade runner Marlou van Rhijn (Netherlands) and Marcel Hug (Switzerland), who will be renewing his thrilling rivalry with the ‘Weir-wolf’ in four events.
Also competing will be Germany’s Markus Rehm, who is the long jump T44 world record holder, and Mandy Francois-Elie, France’s 100m and 200m world champion.
Five days of top class para-sport and you can follow the whole championships by watching More4’s extensive daily coverage.
More4 will be the place to watch all the excitement unfold at the IPC European Athletics Championships in Swansea as the continent’s finest para-athletes compete in the fourth edition of the championships.
Channel 4’s digital station will be broadcasting more than three hours of daily live coverage from Swansea University’s International Sports Village, starting at 3.35pm each day, totalling to more than 15 hours of output throughout the week.
Jonathan Edwards and Ade Adepitan will present the channel’s output from Swansea, with John Rawling, Katharine Merry, Danny Crates and Sophia Warner leading the commentary and analysis team, while Daráine Mulvihill reports from trackside.
As well as daily live coverage, More4’s coverage will be complemented by a live stream on the Channel 4 Paralympics website, as well as a live blog, taking in the best comments and observations on social media, as well as photos from the stadium itself.
Channel 4’s coverage of the IPC European Athletics Championships forms part of an extensive line-up of summer para-sport, which also included the IPC European Swimming Championships held in Eindhoven earlier this month and the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games athletics meeting.
The action starts on Tuesday morning (August 19) and runs through to Saturday (23 August) and expert commentary on the world feed will be provided by Will Downing, who covered last year’s World Championships in Lyon, France, and Nigel Adderley, part of the IPC’s London 2012 commentary team.
In addition to the live stream, the official IPC website will feature live results, schedule of events, news, interviews and a biography of every athlete taking part.
Tuesday 19th August DAY 1: MORNING SESSION LIVE: 9.00am-1.00pm Channel 4 Paralympics Website DAY 1: AFTERNOON SESSION LIVE: 3.35pm-6.50pm More4
Over 500 athletes from more than 40 countries are taking part in Swansea and there’s British talent on view from the off.
Jonnie Peacock goes in the T44 100m Final, Hannah Cockroft in the T34 100m Final, and Libby Clegg in the T12 100m semi-finals.
Wednesday 20th August DAY 2: MORNING SESSION LIVE: 9.00am-1.00pm Channel 4 Paralympics Website DAY 2: AFTERNOON SESSION LIVE: 3.35pm-6.50pm More4
There is a double dose of superstar David Weir today in the finals of the T54 400m and T54 1500m as the second afternoon of competition takes place in Swansea.
British interest also comes in the women’s 100m as Libby Clegg goes in the T12, Sophie Hahn in the T38 and Marie Lyle in the T35 class.
Day three of competition features Welsh home favourite Aled Davies as he goes for gold in the shot put final.
David Weir races the T54 800m final, his third of the championships, and Richard ‘Bladerunner’ Whitehead in the T42 200m final, while other British athletes taking on the best from Europe include Libby Clegg, Graeme Ballard, Jade Jones and Mickey Bushell.
Another star-studded line-up of finals takes place on the fourth afternoon of the championships.
London 2012 golden girl Hannah Cockroft goes for more glory in the T34 800m, Sophie Hahn in the T38 400m, Dan Greaves in the discus and Stef Reid in the long jump.
The final afternoon of para-athletics competition at the European Championships features British stars Jade Jones, Shelley Woods, Kyron Duke and Aled Davies.
As well as the live finals on the last day of competition, the Channel 4 team will also look back at the best of the week’s action from Swansea.