Wednesday, 28 December 2011

IPC European Championships

The IPC European Championships are being held in the Netherlands in June 2012. It will be the final major competition before the London 2012 Paralympics. The championships were only announced in October, as it appears that finding host countries for disability events is difficult. The championships should take place every two years matching the mainstream version, but a host couldn’t be found for 2010.

The qualification standards were released in November and I was excited to find that I had achieved all of them:

T11 100m 15.08secs
T11 200m 33.01secs
F11 Long Jump 3.05m

However, this doesn’t automatically mean I get to go. Just before Christmas UK Athletics released their Selection Policy for the games. There were a few striking features of the policy since the games are so close to the Paralympics. They will only be taking a team of twenty athletes, no wheelchair athletes and athletes who competed at January’s IPC World Championships will have to justify why they want to go, as the Paralympics should be their main priority. This all looked very promising for me, yet when reading further down the policy it became evident that the qualification standards wanted by UKA had dramatically changed. To be selected, UKA want athletes to have scored at least 750 RAZA points by 23 April 2012. Meaning:

T11 100m 14.17secs
T11 200m 28.99secs

For the 100m at least they are asking me to run at least a second faster and in any case, quicker than the A Standard for the Paralympics, as the A Standard is 14.25secs.

So where does this leave me? Well wanting, as per usual I guess. The outdoor athletics season doesn’t kick off until April, so achieving the Standards in such a short space of time is a tall order. However, it’s not in my nature to walk away without a fight. So, I’m considering doing a couple of indoor competitions in February or March, and then come the outdoor season, I should be more race ready. It’s still a long shot, but if I can prove to UKA that I’m progressing, maybe they will take me anyway. I’m ranked highly in Europe and honestly feel I could win a medal. It would be gutting to watch athletes slower than me competing in an international competition.

A wish is a dream and a dream is just a wish...