Great Britain’s Josie Pearson reckons the 2014 IPC Athletics European Championships will be the “biggest and best ever” – and she cannot wait to be involved.
The 28-year-old discus and club thrower is hoping to replicate the gold medals she won at the London 2012 Paralympic Games and the Lyon 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships.
Pearson’s achievements have already earned her an MBE in the Queen’s 2013 New Year’s Honours List.
And she admits August’s European Championships are now starting to come into sharp focus, less than two months from the start of the event in Swansea, Great Britain.
Pearson said: “I’m definitely getting excited now; I can see them coming on the horizon. The European Championships are, for me, my main championships this year.
“Every year is a build-up to the next Paralympics and, while Rio is my main aim, the European Championships are a big part of my run up to Rio.”
A member of Great Britain’s wheelchair rugby team at the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games, Pearson has now established herself as the leading athlete in the women’s discus F51.
She currently holds the world record in the event, having recorded a throw of 7.09m last year in Lyon, France.
And after the experience of the London 2012 Paralympic Games, Pearson admits she is delighted to be competing at a major event in front of home support.
She said: “The European Championships are on my doorstep this year, only 60 miles down the road, so it’ll be a nice change to be in a relaxed atmosphere on home turf.
“I know the Welsh guys have put a lot of effort into these Games, and I think they’ll definitely be the biggest and best European Championships that any of the athletes have seen.”
Pearson, who was involved in a road accident in 2003 that resulted in tetraplegia, is hoping to be roared on by a vociferous Welsh crowd in Swansea.
She said: “Competing on your home turf, and especially with it being so close to home and so close to where I train, makes the whole event very close to your heart.
“You know there’s going to be a lot of people there supporting you that are able to come and see the event.
“Knowing there’s going to be a lot of family and friends offering support, as well as the home nation support, gives a huge boost to any athlete.”
Pearson will be one of 560 athletes from 39 countries competing at the Swansea 2014 IPC Athletics European Championships between 18-23 August.
Tickets for the event at Swansea University are now on-sale and can be purchased via www.swansea2014.com/tickets. Prices start from £3 per session.
Media accreditation for the event is also now open via www.paralympic.org/swansea-2014/media-centre/accreditation