IPC Athletics: Welsh athletes at European Championships

Aled Sion Davies
The first IPC athletics European Championships were held in Assen, Netherlands, in 2003

Hundreds of athletes from 37 countries are in Swansea for the IPC European Championships, which start on Monday.

Among them, Wales has 11 athletes in the 54-strong team representing Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Of those 11, four competed at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

Stephens targeting medal at Euros

F42/F44 discus silver medallist Aled Sion Davies and Rhys Jones, who won Commonwealth Games bronze in , are among the athletes competing on home soil.

Davies set a new world record in the F42 discus at the IPC Athletics Grand Prix in May but the 2012 Paralympic gold medallist had to settle for a silver medal in Glasgow as he lost to 'Discus Dan' Greaves.

Davies said he was "gutted" with silver, and told BBC Radio Wales that the disappointment of missing out on gold is driving him on for Swansea 2014.

Former F57 javelin world champion and world record holder Nathan Stephens said he has "a point to prove" in Swansea.

Stephens suffered heartache on the penultimate day of the London 2012 Paralympic Games, when his throwing style was judged illegal and he finished outside the top eight.

The classification has been changed for his event and he will now compete sitting down, with Swansea 2014 being the first major event under this ruling.

About 550 athletes are expected to compete over six days at the Swansea University International Sports Village, and among the Welsh talent hoping to shine in front of the home crowd are reigning IPC world discus F51/52/53 champion Josie Pearson and 18-year-old T37/38 long jumper and sprinter Olivia Breen.

Wales' biggest representation will be over 100m with Jones, Jenny McLoughlin, 22, Breen, 17-year-old Bradley Wigley, Jordan Howe, 18, and Laura Sugar all competing in the event.

Sugar, 23, who retired from international hockey at the age of 22 in order to become a T44 sprinter, will compete in the T44 100m, 200m and long jump.

Beverley Jones, 39, another Glasgow 2014 competitor, will challenge for the long jump. Jones won a bronze medal at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in the EAD (elite athletes with a disability) 100m before shifting her focus to the field, securing bronze in the F37 discus at London 2012.

Another athlete who switched disciplines early in his career is Kyron Duke, 21, who entered the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi as a power lifter, but subsequently changed to javelin and shot put.

The IPC event has attracted a host of big-names, including Switzerland's Marcel Hug, who competes in distances ranging from 400m to 10,000m.

Welsh athletes at Swansea 2014: Schedule hereexternal-link
Aled Sion DaviesF42 discus & shot put
Rhys JonesT37 100m & 200m
Olivia BreenT38 100m & long jump
Beverley JonesF37 discus & shot put
Josie PearsonF51 discus & club throw
Bradley WigleyT38 100m & 200m
Nathan StephensF57 javelin & discus
Jordan HoweT35 100m & 200m
Kyron DukeF41 shot put & javelin
Laura SugarT44 100m, 200m & long jump
Jenny McLoughlinT37 100m & 200m