WHAT TO WATCH: June 201404.06.2014
A jam-packed month in store for sports fans, highlighted by international competitions in fencing, shooting, athletics, wheelchair tennis, sitting volleyball, wheelchair basketball, goalball and para-triathlon.
IWAS Wheelchair Fencing European Championships
The best fencers from 14 European countries will travel to Strasbourg, France, from 7-12 June. A series of top performers are expected including Poland’s Dariusz Pender, who recently retained his world No.1 status in the men’s category A. Italy’s 16-year-old Beatrice Vio could also make an appearance to claim her first European title in the women’s category B.
IPC Athletics Grand Prix
June marks the first ever IPC Athletics Grand Prix in Africa with the competition in Tunisia hosting over 150 athletes from nearly 20 countries from 16-18 June. Walid Ktila will star for the host nation on the track in the same four men’s T34 events he swept gold in at the 2013 worlds.
From 20-22 June, 250 athletes from 25 countries will gather in Europe for the last time ahead of the 2014 IPC Athletics European Championships in Swansea, Great Britain. Amongst them will be Germany’s world champion T42 sprinter Heinrich Popow and Dutch ‘blade babe’ Marlou van Rhijn.
Roland Garros wheelchair tennis
Featuring the world’s top seven ranked women’s and men’s singles players, this year’s Grand Slam will see the Japanese duo of Shingo Kuneida and Yui Kamiji head out in Paris, France, from 4-6 June. Kamiji recently became the first Japanese woman in history to take the No.1 spot.
IPC Shooting World Cup
From 3-7 June the third and final stop on the World Cup circuit ahead of the 2014 World Championships will take place in Fort Benning, USA. Nearly 70 shooters have made the journey to the Georgia, including Great Britain’s Matt Skelhon on a charge in the first part of the year with two World Cup podiums, and Slovakian double European champion Veronika Vadovicova.
World Para-Volley Sitting Volleyball World Championships
Iran and China enter this competition in Elblag, Poland, from 15-21 June as the men’s and women’s title holders respectively. The 16 men’s teams include Bosnia and Herzegovina looking to make their way to the gold medal match once again. The USA and Ukraine, in addition to China, are expected to be the women’s squads to beat.
International Serbian Wheelchair Dance Sport competition
This is one of several wheelchair dance sport competitions that are new in 2014 to make up a total of eight in the calendar. From 7-8 June, nearly 50 couples from eight countries will gather in Serbia. Headlining the competition are Ukrainian double world champion couple Nadiia and Ivan Sivak.
IWBF Women’s Wheelchair Basketball World Championships
Germany will take to the court from the 20-28 June as the current world No.1 team and reigning Paralympic champions, looking for their first ever world title. World champions from 2010, the USA, are amongst the total of 12 teams to enter the competition in Toronto, whilst hosts Canada are in pursuit of a 100 per cent worlds podium record.
IBSA Goalball World Championships
Since not entering a team into the 2010 World Championships, Finland’s men will be on a charge at home in Espoo to follow on from their European and Paralympic Games titles. China are the defending women’s champions and Lithuania return as the men’s title holders from 26 June - 6 July.
ITU Para-triathlon European Championships
In the lead up to the Euros, which take place on 22 June in Kitzbuhl, Austria, Great Britain’s Faye McClelland recently lost her three-year long undefeated PT4 record to teammate Lauren Steadman at an ITU World Para-triathlon competition in London just last weekend (31 May). Look out too for in-form Frenchman Yannick Bourseaux, who has started to look over his shoulder for German Martin Schulz and Spaniard Jairo Ruiz Lopez following a close finish at the same event.