Great Britain’s track & field stars can set the tone for Tokyo at this week’s World Para Athletics Championships.

A clutch of Paralympic gold medallists, nine defending world champions and four debutants descend on Dubai just nine months before the athletics programme gets underway in Japan.

With Britain bidding to build on a haul of 39 medals, including 18 golds, last time out in London and quota places up for grabs for top-four finishers, there’s plenty at stake.

“The event is a key competition in the cycle as well the final opportunity to take on the best in the world at a global championship before Tokyo,” said head coach Paula Dunn.


I expect our team to step up

Paula Dunn, Head Coach

“We’ve gone for a smaller team size knowing that we’re really in the run in now to the Paralympics.

“I see the championships being so close to Tokyo as yes, we want to go out and do well, but it’s definitely a stepping stone toward Tokyo as opposed to this is the final event.

“We enjoyed our best ever world championships at the biggest edition of the event in London two years ago, but we are not complacent.

“Para Athletics is ever evolving and athletes from all countries have continued to improve since then. I expect our team to step-up and show their ability on the international stage.”

While the world’s best will be vying for medals in the Emirate, the strength of the British team means compatriots will go head-to-head for podium places.

Five-time Paralympic champion Hannah Cockroft and teen sensation Kare Adenegan shared the T34 rostrum three times in London two years ago – they both compete over 100m and 800m.

Aled Davies has won six World Championship gold medals

Sophie Hahn and Kadeena Cox twice swept the podium in London and they are both entered in the T38 200m, while Ali Smith and Olivia Breen rival Hahn in the 100m.

In the field, Aled Davies and Hollie Arnold can join Cockroft and Richard Whitehead in the exclusive club of those to win four consecutive world titles in the F63 shot put and F46 javelin respectively.

Then there are those with a point to prove. Ola Abidogun represents Britain for the first time since 2014, while Thomas Young and Zak Skinner will look to back up last summer’s European titles.

Four athletes will make their senior debuts in Dubai - Owen Miller, Hannah Taunton, Anna Nicholson and Lydia Church.

Competition only starts on Thursday morning and Britain are already on the medal table after Derek Rae won silver at the World Para Marathon Championships in April.

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