In August 2014, Support through Sport UK's Claire Allen and Rhian Turnbull attended the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) European Athletics Championships in Swansea. Read Claire's write-up here ...
This year’s IPC European Championships took place in Swansea, Wales, and we were lucky enough to be there on the last day of the meet. The stars were out in force, hot off the back of the Commonwealth Games.
The men’s 1500m T38 final saw Great Britain’s Dean Miller narrowly missing out on a silver medal, taking bronze with a time of 4:22.24. 'That’s my first major medal, having been in and around the team since I was 17' said Dean. 'Obviously I'm delighted to be on the podium and I just wish it could have been silver. I have to say a massive thanks to the crowd here in Swansea. The Welsh crowd have really made us feel at home and have given the British athletes incredible support.'
In the men’s T34 400m final, Great Britain's Isaac Towers also claimed bronze: 'I’m delighted but it was a really tough race and I didn’t really know what position I was coming in at and had to put my head down and just go for it. I wanted to give it my all as it was my last race of the Championships and I’d already achieved my goal of getting a medal in the 800m - so I could just enjoy this one. I’ve just enjoyed coming here and competing against some of the best guys in Europe.'
A very exciting, and close, men’s F41 shot put final resulted in a silver medal for GB's Kyron Duke, with a throw of 11.96m: 'It was brilliant, I won two bronze medals last year and I’ve stepped it up again with two silvers this year, which is a great improvement. I’ve got the World Championships next year and this will give me a lot of confidence, and like everybody else I still think I can throw further.'
The event I was most looking forward to was the men’s discuss F42 final, with Wales's own Aled Davies competing on the back of his solid performance at the Commonwealths (where he claimed silver). However, at these games it was to be gold for Davies, who recieved an amazing reception from the home crowd: 'After watching Dan Greaves throw a big one yesterday, I was hoping I might get a good tail wind - but the wind seemed to be coming towards me and the discuss was going backwards. I can’t complain too much, I am chuffed with this second gold medal and the crowd were incredible. I saw so many faces I recognised and I’m an athlete that thrives off a good crowd and a good atmosphere and it's great that people have come out to support the British athletes at an event like this. I was a bit disappointed with how things went in Glasgow and I wanted to do better. I want to keep pushing this event forward as it’s a highly contested event.'
The last event of the day was the women’s T35-38 4x100m final. Great Britain fielded a solid team, comprising Olivia Breen, Bethany Woodward, Sophie Hahn and Jenny McCloughlin. It was such an exciting race to watch; the crowd was electric, really getting behind the home nations. It was incredibly close for gold, with the GB women coming away with silver - another fantastic result. Olivia Breen said: 'It was a very proud moment for me to be able to run out in front of a home crowd, it was just like London 2012 all over again' and McCloughlin added: 'I knew I had to go out as hard as possible as soon as I had the baton. As a quartet we have performed brilliantly and there’s more to come over the next few years.'
It was a fantastic end to a fantastic day, and Championships, that saw GB placing second overall.