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london 2012 medallists ready to light up birmingham

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Weir Cockroft Peacock Greaves
David Weir (coach: Jenny Archer), who won four gold medals at last summer’s Paralympic Games, was today joined by fellow London 2012 medallists Hannah Cockroft (coach: Jenni Banks), Dan Greaves (Jim Edwards) and Jonnie Peacock (Steve Fudge) ahead of the Sainsbury’s IPC Athletics Grand Prix Final on Saturday 29 June.

Weir will line-up in a competitive T54 1500m against Josh Cassidy and Marcel Hug in the last leg of the IPC Athletics Series, which has seen athletes compete in Dubai, Beijing, Sao Paulo, Grosseto, Arizona and Berlin. Despite admitting that he’s not quite where he was last year, the six-time Paralympic champion believes he will give a good account of himself tomorrow.

“I’m in good shape, but I wouldn’t say I was in superhuman shape as I was for the Games, but I raced Marcel last week and beat him in the 5km and was pretty close in the other races too, so it’s going to be interesting tomorrow.”

The event will mark the first time Britain’s Paralympic team compete on home soil since their heroics at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, and Weir is still taking in what was the most memorable moment of his athletics career.

“Everywhere I go I get recognised and it’s an honour really. You forget sometime of what we did in London and as people say it was the best time of their lives coming to watch us race and seeing what we did for the sport and the country as a whole.

“I think about it every day – I still get asked two, three times a week about what happened last year so I’ll never forget it and it’ll probably be something I talk about for the rest of my life. I don’t get bored about talking about it - all nine days of action.”

Peacock, who produced one of the moments of London 2012 winning gold in the T44 100m will also star in Birmingham and the world record holder in his event

“I’m looking forward to Birmingham, it’s going to be a great chance to get out in front of the British public again, as they always give us some fantastic cheers.

“Training is going well, but you can perform fantastic in training and then when you get out on the track it doesn’t convert as well, so we’re just going to have to wait and see how well it goes when the gun goes off.”

Cockroft, last summer’s golden girl, will head to the Sainsbury’s IPC Athletics Grand Prix Final as the current World and Olympic champion over 100m and 200m, and believes that the event will act as crucial preparation for the IPC World Championships in Lyon in July.

“The Sainsbury’s IPC Athletics Grand Prix Final is massively important in the lead up to Lyon just to see what I need to do and how my competition is performing in the next few weeks to make sure I’m double World champion again.

“I’m feeling good, I hope the sun comes out and it will be interesting to see what the other girls do after the Paralympics. Hopefully we’ll get a massive crowd to cheer me all the way home for another victory,” added the 20 year old who will go head-to-head against London 2012 T34 100m silver medallist Amy Siemons this weekend.

Another defending world champion who will be looking to put in a good performance ahead of Lyon is F44 discus Paralympic silver medallist Dan Greaves, who believes that the IPC Athletics Series is crucial to continuing the momentum from last year.

“I can’t wait to get out in front of the buzz of a home crowd. We’ve wanted this for years as a Paralympic athlete and we’re going to see some great athletics action again this weekend.  For me, it’s the ultimate accolade to compete in front of a home crowd getting the names and sport out there.

The four-time Paralympic medallist will go up against America’s Jeremy Campbell, who beat Greaves to gold in London, and believes that this test will set him up well for retaining his world title in Lyon.

“I can’t wait, it will be the first time I’ve competed against Jeremy since the Games so I’m excited for that. I’m starting to hit some really good shape and it’s going to be nice to see preparation wise I’m looking for the Worlds.

“As defending champion I’ve got to go out there for the gold, give it my best. I believe I’m in shape to go over 60m, and I know that’s what it’s going to take to win. Hopefully I can do the business over there – I’ve peaked at every major championships so I know how to do it, it’s just about putting it in place.”