At the London 2012 Paralympic Games, athletics contributed a total of 29 medals to ParalympicsGB’s medal tally at the Olympic Stadium, including 11 gold.
‘Thriller Thursday’ will be a night that will go down in athletics folklore, as Jonnie Peacock, Hannah Cockroft and David Weir all claimed gold in front of a capacity crowd.
Weir’s feats will go down in history, as the Londoner claimed four gold medals and covered an astonishing 35.3 miles in 10 days of track and road action.
Since the home Games, the British team has gone from strength-to-strength, winning 29 medals at the 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships in Lyon, France, and 31 medals two years later in at the 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships in Doha – the team’s best performance since 2002.
While the established names of Peacock, Weir, Cockroft and Richard Whitehead continue to deliver the goods, the British team has continued to develop some of the increasing talent through to the elite stage. Sophie Hahn, Georgie Hermitage, Shaun Burrows and Maria Lyle are just some of the athletes that have enjoyed a meteoric rise since the London 2012 Games and look set for bright futures with Rio 2016 and the 2017 IPC Athletics World Championships in London on the not so distant horizon.
- First year at a Paralympic Games:
• Rome 1960
• Brief history:
• Athletics is a traditional Olympic and Paralympic sport and has been on the Paralympic programme since the first Games
• Eligible impairment groups:
• All physical impairment groups, visual impairments and athletes with a learning disability. Athletes competing in the track (T) and field (F) events are divided into classifications to ensure fair competition.
• London medal table:
• 1 - China (33 gold, 29 silver, 24 bronze)
2 - Russia (19 gold, 12 silver, five bronze)
3 - Great Britain (11 gold, seven silver, 11 bronze)
• GB medals in London:
• David Weir, 4x gold, T54 5000m, 1500m, 800m and marathon
Hannah Cockroft, 2x gold, T34 100m and 200m
Richard Whitehead, gold, T42 200m
Aled Davies, gold, F42 Discus and bronze, F42 Shot
Mickey Bushell, gold, T53 100m
Jonnie Peacock, gold, T44 100m
Josie Pearson, gold, T51/52/53 Discus
Stef Reid, silver, F42/44 Long Jump
Graeme Ballard, silver, T36 100m
Libby Clegg and Mikail Huggins, silver, T12 100m
Paul Blake, silver, T36 400m and bronze, T36 800m
Bethy Woodward, silver, T37 200m
Dan Greaves, silver, F44 Discus
Shelley Woods, silver, T54 marathon
Gemma Prescott, bronze, F31/32/51 Club Throw
Robin Womack, bronze, F54/55/56 Shot
David Devine, 2x bronze, T13 1500m and T12 800m
Olivia Breen, Katrina Hart, Jenny McLoughlin and Bethy Woodward, bronze, T35-38 4x100m Relay
Ben Rushgrove, bronze, T36 200m
Bev Jones, bronze, F37 Discus
Ola Abidogun, bronze, T46 100m
• Did you know:
Stephen Miller will mark his sixth Paralympic Games should he be selected to compete at Rio 2016.
• London 2012 venue:
· Rio 2016 venue:
João Havelange Stadium (Maracaná Zone)
In track events, the winner is the fastest athlete to complete the distance of the race. In some field events, however, the athlete who throws the specified item furthest is not always the outright winner as results can be ‘factored’. This means that the results take into account the degree of the impairments of each competitor. After each throw, the athlete secures a number of points based on a combination of the distance and the level of impairment. The gold medal will go to the athlete with the most number of points at the end of the competition.
In ‘combined’ events, where multiple classification groups compete against each other (indicated by the presence of a forward slash in the event title e.g. F32/51 discus or F55/56 discus), athletes break records within their classification group only. Thus in Beijing in the F33/34/52 discus, two records were broken for two different classifications: British athlete Chris Martin set a Paralympic record for the F33 class and Latvian athlete Aigars Apinis set a world record for the F52 class.
Rules ensure that athletes who have visual impairments can be assisted by guides on the field or the track without giving the athletes any unfair advantages.
All equipment is subject to inspection and stringent rules to ensure competition is fair.
In athletics there are events for all impairment groups. These groups comprise of athletes in classes as follows:
Classes 11, 12 and 13 cover the different levels of visual impairment.
Class 20 covers athletes with a learning disability.
Classes 32-38 cover athletes with different levels of cerebral palsy - both wheelchair users (32 - 34) and those who are ambulant (35 - 38).
Classes 40-46 cover ambulant athletes with different levels of amputations and other impairments, including Les Autres (e.g. athletes who have dwarfism).
Classes 51-58 cover athletes with different levels of spinal injuries and amputations who compete in wheelchairs.