Learning Disability Today
Supporting professionals working in learning disability and autism services

Team GB learning disability athletes prepare for European Athletics Championships

marcel hodgeA group of nine athletes with learning disabilities will represent Team GB at the 7th Inas Open European Athletics Championships in the Netherlands from June 11-15.

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) sanctioned event will see 152 athletes from 19 European countries compete in an event where the fastest athletes can qualify for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

Team GB member Marcel Hodge (pictured) is among the favourites for medals. He said: “As the current 100m and 200m European champion, I’m really hoping I can retain my titles, and it would be awesome to win the relay too. It’s always an honour for me to represent GB, not many people can say they’ve done that.”

The Team competing in Bergen Op Zoom was selected by the UK Sports Association for People with Learning Disability (UKSA) and all meet the classification of T20 for track events or F20 for field events.

Further reading: Editor’s blog – Sport for all

Tracey McCillen, chief executive of the UKSA, said: “Great Britain is fielding a powerful team of talented athletes who are all focused on reaching the podium.

“The GB Team is ready for success at the Championships, the Team has demonstrated their ability to deliver on a national and international scale with some exceptional results. Expectations are high as they take their place amongst the world’s best.”

The full Team GB line-up is as follows:
• Marcel Hodge (Leicestershire) – double Inas World Champion and the current reigning 100m and 200m European champion
• Martina Barber (Stevenage) – Gold medal winner in the heptathlon at the 2013 Inas World Athletics Championships
• Robert Ferrol (Glasgow) – Gold for the 4 X 200m relay, silver at 400m and silver in the 4 X 400m relay at the 7th Inas World Athletics Championships
• Chloe Knight (Lancashire) achieved gold in the long jump (4.14m) and triple jump (8.63m) at the Mencap 15th Open Athletics Championships in 2013
• Holly Durbidge (Lowestoft) – Silver medallist in the 4 X 200m relay at the 2012 European Athletics Championships
• Daniel Pass (Merseyside) – “highly commended” Local Sports Person of the Year at the Wirral Golden Globes Awards and Gold medal at last year’s Mencap National Championships in the 200m
• Declan Manning (Suffolk)
• Owen Miller (Fife)
• Aidan Turnbull (Jarrow and Hebburn)
• The relay team will include: Robert Ferrol, Aidan Turnbull, Marcel Hodge and Owen Miller (mens), Holly Durbridge and Chloe Knight (women’s).

The Team is led by team manager and head coach Paul Burns (Barrow-in-Furness), along with GB coaches Christine Galloway (Halifax) and Tommy Patterson (Glasgow), who has been chosen to take part in the Commonwealth Games Queens Baton Relay. The physiotherapist is Nicola Tennant (Glasgow).

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