Cockroft looking forward to home crowd support in Birmingham

Double Paralympic champion seeks Sainsbury’s IPC Athletics Grand Prix Final victory ahead of her world titles defence in Lyon

Hannah Cockroft (BPA)

More than 25 medallists from last year’s Paralympic Games will line up at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham on Saturday for the Sainsbury’s IPC Athletics Grand Prix Final.

Among them will be double Paralympic and world champion Hannah Cockroft and the 20-year-old is looking to put on a solid performance ahead of the 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships which take place in Lyon in just over three weeks’ time.

The 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m T34 world record holder will face the likes of Netherlands’ Paralympic silver and bronze medallists Amy Siemons and Desiree Vranken in the 200m on Saturday and is looking to use the competition as a test to see where she’s at ahead of this year’s ultimate goal.

“It’s fantastic to have another world class competition in Britain so that my family, friends and amazing fans can come and see me do what I do best,” commented Cockroft.

“Obviously my main aim is to win and if the home crowd is anything like it was in London, then I know they will carry me along.

“But I really just want to have fun and see where I’m at in the lead up to World Championships.”

Saturday’s event marks the end of this year’s seven-meeting IPC Grand Prix series which has seen athletes compete in Dubai, Beijing, Sao Paulo, Grosseto, Arizona and Berlin.

Also looking to end the series on a high is fellow Brit Jonnie Peacock who stormed to 100m T43/44 gold in London last year. He lines up over the same distance in Birmingham and will be hoping to make his mark against three of the world’s top ranked 10 T44 sprinters over 100m this year including teenager Felix Streng of Germany who recently proved his form in Berlin.

In the 1,500m T53/54 all eyes will be on home favourite David Weir, London’s four-time gold medallist, as he takes on a field including Canada’s marathon world record holder Josh Cassidy and the man who picked up Paralympic silver behind him in the 800m and the marathon, Marcel Hug of Switzerland.

Also in action is Richard Whitehead who won Paralympic 200m T42 gold ahead of Heinrich Popow 10 months ago and the pair will do battle once again over the same distance on Saturday. The Briton tops the world rankings but Popow – the reigning world and Paralympic 100m T42 champion – has recently shown he is in great shape clocking 12.12 over 100m in Berlin, a world record time but one that doesn’t stand due to the windy conditions.

Over in the field and Britain’s discus F44 world champion Dan Greaves will go head-to-head with US Paralympic champion Jeremy Campbell while in-form Iris Pruysen will be hoping she can see off the likes of Britain’s Stef Reid in the women’s F42/43/44 long jump, with the Dutchwoman having finished fourth at the Paralympic Games last year where Reid claimed silver.

» There are still some tickets available for the Sainsbury’s IPC Athletics Grand Prix Final, you can find more info here, while Channel 4 will be broadcasting the action live from 4.20pm – 6.30pm

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