World Para-athletics Championships: Baroness Grey-Thompson says no to London in 2019

By Gareth GriffithsBBC Wales Sport
Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson
Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson won 11 gold medals in Paralympic Games

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson believes venues other than London should be considered to stage the World Para-athletics Championships in 2019.

The 2017 event finished on Sunday with more than 230,000 people attending this year's championships.

The event could return to London in two years but Britain's 11-time Paralympic champion does not agree.

"My personal view is we need to ask other countries to step up," Baroness Grey-Thompson told BBC Wales Sport.

"We have proved we can do disability sport and the Paralympics really well.

"We have to push other countries to do it as well as we can."

There is a September deadline to submit bids to host the next Worlds to the International Paralympic Committee with another championships for London being considered.

UK Athletics chairman Richard Bowker said he believed "there is the will to make it happen".

Baroness Grey-Thompson acknowledged the success of London 2017 but believes the event needs to be staged somewhere else in two years.

"The London World Championships were incredible, the crowds were brilliant and they sold more tickets than the previous eight combined," Baroness Grey-Thompson said.

"Every athlete I spoke to said it was the best Worlds they have ever been to.

"I think we should not cling onto it though. I understand the IPC want it in 2019 to raise the Games to another level.

"There is loads to discuss in terms of who is going to pay for it, who is going to underwrite it, sponsors and the logistics."

Triple double

Aled Sion Davies
Aled Sion Davies won shot put gold at the 2016 Paralympics and discus gold at the 2012 Paralympics

Britain won 39 medals including 18 golds in London, with Welsh thrower Aled Sion Davies winning the discus and shot put double for the third successive time.

"He was amazing," said Baroness Grey-Thompson.

"If you look back to London 2012 he had the crowd in the stadium in the palm of his hand and it was like that again here on both weekends when he won golds.

"He produced one of the standout performances, especially the shot which in the past has not been his standout event.

"He produced a world record with his second attempt and threw significantly further than anyone else has ever done."

With neither of his events in the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast next year, Davies has outlined his intention to try and qualify for able-bodied shot put events.

"I think it's realistic for Aled," said Grey Thompson.

"He does a combination of disability and mainstream events and that's important.

"The difference is he throws a slightly smaller shot than he would have to do in mainstream competition.

"He needs to keep trying because pushing himself towards the mainstream helps him hugely in what he is doing at the Paralympics."

Welsh success

Hollie Arnold
Hollie Arnold was voted co-captain of Britain's team in London by her colleagues

Other Welsh success included javelin thrower Hollie Arnold and long jumper Olivia Breen, who both won gold and shot putter Kyron Duke and sprinter Jordan Howe, who claimed silvers.

"In terms of the Welsh influence within GB, to have two of the more experienced athletes winning gold medals helps some of the younger athletes," said Grey-Thompson.

"Holly was incredible. She was the team captain and spent a lot of time with the young members and to throw a new world record was stunning.

"Olivia was so excited to win gold in the long jump. The change in her since last year has been so noticeable and you can see that in the way you can perform.

"It was also step up for Jordan with a personal best in the final and you can't ask for much more than that.

"The British team were amazing. Their medal target was 30 top end and they achieved 39.

"The medals were achieved by stalwarts of the team and young athletes coming through.

"In reality world championships are important but it's all about building towards the next Paralympic Games in Tokyo."

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