The legacy of two major championships on British soil within three years continues to reap dividends for athletes north of the border, writes Ruth Jones
David Weir to miss IPC Europeans through injuryAugust 18, 2014
Six-time Paralympic gold medallist forced to withdraw from Swansea championships with tendonitis in his arm
David Weir says he is “absolutely devastated” that injury has forced him to withdraw from the IPC European Championships.
The six-time Paralympic gold medallist, who also has a European 400m gold from 2005, has been suffering with tendonitis in his arm since the Commonwealth Games and will not be fit enough to compete at the European event, which is being held in Swansea from August 18-23.
“I’m absolutely devastated to have pulled out of Swansea,” said Weir, who won Commonwealth T54 1500m gold in Glasgow. “I’ve had a tendonitis problem since Glasgow and unfortunately I’m not in a position to compete at the European Championships.”
The 35-year-old won four gold medals at the London 2012 Paralympic Games but then chose not to compete at the 2013 IPC World Championships in Lyon, France, in order to spend more time with his young family.
“I am determined to come back stronger to ensure that I’m up and running for next year’s World Championships in Doha and then the Paralympic Games in Rio,” added Weir, who had been due to race four events – the 400m, 800m, 1500m and 5000m – in Wales.
“I’d like to apologise to all the fans, who always come out to support me when I compete and wish the GB & NI team the best of success in Wales.”
In Weir’s absence, Mikail Huggins has been called up to captain the 51-strong GB & NI team.
Huggins, who is guide runner to reigning European 100m and 200m champion Libby Clegg, described being handed the role as an honour, but also a “big shock”.
“When I was asked by Paula (Dunn, GB & NI head coach), I told her I had to go to my room for a bit to gather my thoughts,” said Huggins. “While I was there I thought to myself that I do have those leadership qualities, I know I’m approachable and I have been to a few major games now.
“As a captain I just want people to see me as that voice of reasoning and I can offer some words of wisdom based on my experiences as an athlete and life in general because I’m one of the oldest members in the team. But you’re never too old to learn, so that’s one of the messages I’ll put out there.
“I also want to highlight that setbacks do happen and success is measured on how you come back from them.”
Dunn said: “I’m really positive that we will have a successful championships as we did in Lyon last year, and I’m confident that like with London 2012, the home crowd will really get behind us and spur us on to more medals and great performances.
“Mikail will be a great captain and I know will inspire the athletes to go out on the track and give it their best performance possible. He’s an established figure in the group and I’m sure will motivate everyone over the course of the week.”