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para stars set for ipc athletics grand prix in dubai 

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Aled Davies
19 February 2015 


Some of GB & NI’s biggest para-athletes will travel to Dubai for the opening IPC Athletics Grand Prix of the year on 22-25 February.

Following an impressive start to 2015, double World and European T42 shot put champion Aled Davies (coach: Ryan Spencer-Jones) will be looking to go beyond the 16m barrier following his throw of 15.93m at last weekend’s Sainsbury’s Indoor British Championships. The Welshman’s throw was recorded as an unofficial World Indoor record, but now has his eyes on improving the existing record of 14.71m he set at the last IPC World Championships in Lyon in 2013.

Davies said: “Despite going through a number of changes through the winter, I’m ecstatic with how I’ve started in 2015. I know there is still a lot more to come, but I’m really looking forward to heading out to Dubai and hopefully putting down another big marker. Consistency is key and I'm determined to continue the hard work with my coach to throw over 15m consistently throughout the season. 

“It’s going to be really beneficial for me to test myself out in the conditions that I’m likely to face at the World Championships in Doha later this year.”

Hannah Cockroft (Jenni Banks), who now holds the grand slam of titles after winning double gold in Swansea, will look to get her 2015 to a flying start in a year where she will look to add more medals to her collection at the IPC World Championships in Doha in October.

Maria Lyle (Tabo Huntley), who announced herself on the big stage with double sprint gold in the T35 category in South Wales will return to Dubai, a year after setting a 200m world record on her international debut. Fellow sprinter Sophie Hahn (Joe McDonnell) will be hoping for a strong start to the season with the aim of retaining her T38 100m world title in the Middle East later this year as the teenager joins a travelling party of over 20 athletes from the UK.

Five-time Paralympic club thrower Stephen Miller (Ros Miller) will draw upon all his experience to pass on to a young team flying out to Dubai, while Jo Butterfield (Shona Malcolm/Phil Peat) will be aiming to replicate the performance that saw her crowned F32/51 club throw gold medallist in her first appearance in a GB & NI vest.

Paralympic Head Coach, Paula Dunn added: “It’s great to have a competition so early on in the season to see how the team is performing after a solid block of winter training. While it’s going to be a long season, it’s important to gauge what needs to be done between now and October to ensure that everyone is peaking in time for Doha.

“The IPC Athletics Grand Prix in Dubai will give us an opportunity to acclimatise to the conditions and also get a feel for the environment ahead of the World Championships.”

For more information, please visit: http://www.paralympic.org/athletics/grand-prix-2015/7th-fazaa-international-athletics-competition

Results will be available on the British Athletics website after the first day of action.