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EUROPEANS VITAL STEPPING STONE FOR LONDON 2012

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Stephen Miller

24 April 2012

Four-times Paralympian Stephen Miller (coach: Ros Miller) believes that this year’s IPC European Athletics Championships in Stadskanaal, Netherlands (24-28 June),  will be the strongest it’s even been and a great test for the 20-strong Aviva Great Britain and Northern Ireland team ahead of this summer’s Paralympic Games.

“For me it’s an ideal time to compete in a high quality competition,” says the experienced 31-year-old who has won three Paralympic Games gold medals in the F32 Club Throw to date.

All the guys that will be in London will be there, so it’s a good test to see where you are and how much work you need to do; I think it’s going to be a really good, strong competition.”

While Gateshead’s Miller is one of the longest-serving members of the Aviva GB & NI team, 16-year-old Sally Brown (Philip Tweedie), a 2011 World Championships T46 200m bronze medallist, is one of the youngest and will also benefit hugely from the event: “For young athletes, it’s really important to get a feel for competing in Championships which is so different to anything else,” explains Miller. “You’re away from home and you’re competing with more pressure, so for the guys targeting their first Paralympic Games it’s a vital warm up.”

The last edition of the IPC European Athletics Championships took place in Finland in 2005. On this occasion, no track wheelchair athletes have been selected onto the Aviva GB & NI team, as they, along with a select group of others, will compete at the US National Paralympic Championships in Indianapolis (29 June-1 July) where the competition is expected to at a more appropriate level for those particular event groups.

“We’re fortunate to have a number of high quality competition opportunities across Europe and further afield over the next few months,” says Aviva GB & NI Head Coach Peter Eriksson. “While this event wasn’t in everyone’s plans, it provides the perfect platform to develop our athletes where we believe that’s a priority, and in other cases fine tune their performances in events where they will be required to step up their game against their toughest rivals  - and for many those athletes are in Europe - prior to London. It’s also a good test for the younger athletes.”

AVIVA GB & NI TEAM

Hollie Arnold (Anthony Hughes): F46 Javelin; Graeme Ballard (Steve Thomas): T36 100m/200m; Paul Blake (Rob Ellchuk): T36 400m/800m; Sally Brown (Philip Tweedie): T46 100m/200m; Libby Clegg (Keith Antoine): T12 100m/200m; Aled Davies (Anthony Hughes): F42 Discus/Shot Putt; Derek Derenalagi (Alison O’Riordan): F57 Discus; Kyron Duke (Anthony Hughes): F40 Javelin/Shot Putt; Thomas Green (Ken Green): F32 Club Throw; Katrina Hart (Rob Ellchuk): T37 100m/200m; Tracey Hinton (Darrell Maynard): T11 100m/200m/400m; Bev Jones (John Parkin): F37 Discus/Shot Putt; Jenny McLoughlin (Darrell Maynard): T37 100m/200m/400m; Stephen Miller (Ros Miller): F32 Club Throw; Scott Moorhouse (Dan Pfaff): F42 Javelin; Ben Rushgrove (Rob Ellchuk): T36 100m/200m; Sophia Warner (Steve King): T35 100m/200m; Richard Whitehead (Keith Antoine/Liz Yelling): T42 100m/200m; Claire Williams (Jim Edwards): F12 Discus; Bethy Woodward (Jonas Dodoo): T37 200m/400m;