Doha 2015: IPC Paralympic Athletics World Championships

Aled Sion Davies
Aled Sion Davies won discus gold and shot put bronze at the 2012 Paralympics

The IPC Athletic World Championships start in Doha on Thursday, and there will be a strong Welsh flavour to Great Britain's team.

Paralympic discus champion Aled Sion Davies will be among the leading medal contenders as British athletes continue their preparations for the 2016 Paralympics in Rio.

Former Welsh athlete Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, who won 11 Paralympic gold medals, believes the competition in Doha will provide ideal preparation for next summer's Games.

"You look at the number of Welsh athletes and it's one of the best we've had in terms of percentage of the whole Great Britain team," she told BBC Radio Wales Sport.

"Where we're really strong is the field events. You've got Kyron Duke, Sabrina Fortune - so there's a bit of a mix of older, established athletes and younger ones coming through.

"Where this is really important for the British team is how we perform at the World Championships gives us the base level number of athletes for Rio next year.

"It's important we have a strong team here."

Welsh athletes at the IPC Athletic World Championships
Hollie Arnold - javelin F46 - Trains at the Sport Wales National Centre in Cardiff
Samantha Bowen - shot put, discus F44 - Born in Aberdare, competed for Great Britain in sitting volleyball at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. Has also represented Wales in boxing
Aled Davies - shot put, discus F42 - Welsh by birth
Kyron Duke - shot put, javelin F41 - Welsh by birth
Sabrina Fortune - shot put F20 - Welsh by birth
Jordan Howe - 100m T35 - Welsh by birth
Rhys Jones - 100m T37 - Welsh by birth
Jenny McLoughlin - 100m, 200m, 4x100m T37 - Originally from Manchester but trained at Cardiff University and lived in Wales for most of her adult life
Tony Mills - long jump T44 - Welsh by birth

Davies leads the way

Davies will not be able to defend his Paralympic F42 discus title after the event was cut from the Rio 2016 Games.

But the 24-year-old from Bridgend will compete in both the shot put and discus in Doha.

"It's great for the team his event is on so early because he is really good with the rest of the guys in the squad," said Grey-Thompson.

"He's very motivational, people will be looking to him to perform."

Sabrina Fortune
Shot-putter Sabrina Fortune is one of Great Britain's Welsh athletes in Doha

As well as experienced athletes such as Davies, there will be several new faces in the squad.

Long jumper Tony Mills is one such competitor, and the 35-year-old former England Amputee footballer is aiming for a medal in Doha.

"For someone like Tony, who hasn't come through the youth ranks, it's about finding the best event for him," added Grey-Thompson.

"The World Championships are going to be amazing. The stadium is stunning.

Jenny Mcloughlin
Jenny McLoughlin competed in the 200m — T37 at the London 2012 Paralympic Games

"In terms of numbers, there are 1,300 athletes. The biggest change here is the big increase in the number of women.

"It's 39% up compared to Lyon [2013 IPC World Championships] so that's changing the whole nature of World Championships and Paralympics.

"It's very late to be having a World Championships and it's going to very warm but, from a British point of view, we've known about this for a long time.

"All the athletes have been in acclimatisation [training] and they will want to be winning medals as this is the last big thing before Rio next year."

Jordan Howe
Jordan Howe was third in the 200m T35 final at the IPC Athletics European Championships in 2014