Para trio look forward to a competitive World Champs

Tuesday 4th July 2023

Read our team selection story

With seven Scots heading to the World Para Champs in Paris this summer on the GB and NI team, it’s clear that Para athletics in Scotland is in good health.

Three of those seven athletes come from the stable of coach Steve Doig, who has helped guide 1500m runners Owen Miller, Steven Bryce and Ben Sandilands to selection.

Eight Scots were initially selected for Paris but unfortunately Kayleigh Haggo has withdrawn.

Peter Jardine caught up with Steve, Owen and Steven at Pitreavie, to hear more about the hard work that’s brought them to World standard in this highly-competitive event.

Steve said: ‘We’ve been lucky to get three athletes in the same event, so that’s great progress for the group.

‘Obviously Owen’s been in that classification for a while now, Ben got into the T20 classification, he went through the classification process in Dubai in early March.

‘Steven’s been on the British Athletics Futures Programme and we’d actually hoped we could squeeze him into the World Championship team. We weren’t quite sure we’d done enough this year, but luckily I think we just got in at the last minute.’

Above: Owen receives Paralympic gold (photo by Imagecomms for Paraympics GB); Ben Sandilands and Steven Bryce in action on the track (photos by Bobby Gavin)

With Owen the defending T20 1500m Paralympic Champion, and Ben the European record holder, Steven has been a new addition to the training group in the past year, and has made great strides.

‘We had a discussion with Dan Stepney [of the Futures Programme] at British Athletics, I spoke to [Steven’s dad] Allan I think last spring and he was keen for Steven to come over and try a session or two because he lives about an hour away.

‘So he came over, tried a couple of sessions, he quite enjoyed it, so he’s been coming over two days a week. And then he just does a session on his own with Allan watching him on a Thursday. He’s been a great addition. We were lucky to get a big improvement out of him last summer.’

The athletes are looking forward to the World Champs – Owen said: ‘I’m going to make sure that I work hard and give it all that I can give. The new GB kit has arrived and I can’t wait to wear it.’

Steve also said he found the take-up of Para coaching by athletics clubs across Scotland to be an incredibly positive development.

‘There’s so much being done on the ground through clubs now in Para events, and it’s great to see.

‘For someone (like me) working with children with additional support needs, it’s great to see that there are opportunities for them as they leave primary school, go into high school and then further on into sport.’

The World Para Champs run from 8-17 July in Paris.

Tags: Ben Sandilands, Owen Miller, Para athletes, Para athletics, Steve Doig, Steven Bryce, World Para Champs, World Para Champs 2023

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