IPC World Athletics: Doha to deliver best stories yet - president

Discus thrower Aled Davies, T34 specialist Hannah Cockroft, T42 200m champion Richard Whitehead and T54 racer David Weir
Discus thrower Aled Davies, T34 specialist Hannah Cockroft, T42 200m champion Richard Whitehead and T54 racer David Weir will all be in action
IPC Athletics World Championships
Venue: Qatar Sports Club, Suhaim Bin Hamad Stadium, Doha Dates: 22-31 October
Coverage: Daily reports on the BBC Sport website, plus coverage of key races on BBC Radio 5 live and BBC World Service

Great Britain's Para-athletes will be aiming to qualify for next year's Rio Paralympics when they take part in the IPC Athletics World Championships which start in Doha, Qatar on Thursday.

A 48-strong team, which has a mixture of youth and experience, will be representing GB at the event which takes place across 10 days of competition at the Qatar Sports Club.

And International Paralympic Committee president Sir Philip Craven believes the competition will "deliver some of the best performances and stories yet".

BBC Sport looks at the event and what you can expect with less than a year to go to the Games.

Why is this event so important?

This will be the biggest edition of this event yet, featuring about 1,400 athletes from 94 countries who will be competing in 214 medal events.

Temperatures in Doha are about 35C and the heat will provide challenges for all of the athletes competing.

As a result, most of the finals will be taking place in the evening sessions where conditions will be slightly more comfortable.

Slots for Rio are also up for grabs with the event forming part of the qualification process for next year's Games.

"This is an important milestone as we look towards a future which is incredibly bright for Para-athletics," said Craven.

What are Great Britain's hopes?

The GB team features Paralympic champions David Weir, Hannah Cockroft, Aled Davies and Richard Whitehead with both Cockroft and Davies aiming for medals on the opening day of competition.

But teenagers Maria Lyle and Sophie Hahn will be hoping to add to their growing reputations while newcomers Georgie Hermitage and Kadeena Cox will be hoping to mark their debuts with success along with Afghanistan veteran Dave Henson, who won gold at last year's Invictus Games.

Aled Davies, discus thrower
Welshman Aled Davies took silver in the discus F42/44 competition at last year's Commonwealth Games

Paralympic head coach Paula Dunn believes the UK Sport target of 26-30 medals, including 10-12 golds, is achievable.

"We know the sport is competitive and medal targets always will be tough for a well-funded sport like ours, but we are confident that we will do well," she told BBC Sport.

"Paralympic sport has moved on in leaps and bounds since London but I don't want to just look at outcomes. If some of the newcomers can move up the world rankings with their performances here then that is a really good position to go on to Rio."

GB were fifth in the medal table at the last Worlds in Lyon in 2013 and their biggest challenge will again come from Russia, USA, Brazil, Ukraine and China.

Who will not be there?

The most notable absentee from the British team is amputee sprinter and defending world and Paralympic champion Jonnie Peacock, who has pulled out of the event with a sore on his leg.

London 2012 gold medallist Mickey Bushell and his fellow wheelchair racer Jade Jones, who won silver at last year's Commonwealth Games, are also absent because of injury, along with long jumper Stef Reid, which are blows for GB's medal hopes.

Johnnie Peacock
London 2012 gold medallist Jonnie Peacock will miss the men's T44 100m through injury

American Jarryd Wallace, who set a world record in Peacock's T44 100m event for leg amputees, is also absent, just weeks after setting the world best in Toronto.

And the proximity of the competition to the prestigious New York Marathon means that American star Tatyana McFadden, who is bidding for a third consecutive clean sweep of big city marathons (Boston, London, Chicago and New York) has opted to miss out on Doha.

Six-time Lyon winner McFadden's absence, along with that of Switzerland's Manuela Schar, who won three golds at last year's European Championships, means the women's T54 wheelchair racing category is as open as it has ever been.

Who are the ones to watch?

David Weir and his Swiss rival Marcel Hug will be facing each other for the first time in a major championship since the London Paralympics when they go up against each other in the T54 1500m and 5000m.

Newcomer Hermitage will be aiming for three gold medals in the T37 100m, 400m and 4x100m relay on her Great Britain debut.

Read more on Doha 2015
Can the Weirwolf catch the Silver Bullet?
Maria Lyle's Paralympic dream
I cannot afford mistakes - Cockroft

Hermitage was inspired by London 2012 and, after giving birth to her daughter, started training again and improved her own T37 400m world record at the Olympic Stadium in July. This is her first major championship.

American leg amputee Richard Browne goes for glory in the T44 100m, hoping to shine in the absence of Paralympic and world champion Peacock and world record holder Wallace, who was a late withdrawal.

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