The 10th IWAS World Junior Games came to a successful conclusion the other evening when Paul DePace the President of IWAS (International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports) addressed the hundreds of athletes, coaches, officials and supporters who packed the main hall in the Stoke Mandeville Stadium to close the Games.
320 athletes (between the ages of 14 and 22) from 31 countries had competed in six sports: Archery, Athletics, Powerlifting, Swimming, Table Tennis and Wheelchair Fencing during the four days of competition between the 4th- 7th August.
The President remarked " That he had been pleased to witness athletes (of which many were participating at their first World Games) competing at the highest level, setting new personal bests, ensuring good acts of sportsmanship and meeting new friends".
The USA finished top of the medal table with a total of 70 medals including 24 Golds. GB were second with 46 medals closely followed by the Czech Republic with 45 medals, Russia were fourth.
During the closing dinner (which was sponsored by the Sir Emeka Offor Foundation) Paul DePace also thanked the volunteers and officials for their hard work and support in making the World Junior Games such a success.
Two WR's were broken during the Games, the American Powerlifter Jaque Bilingsley broke the WR in the over 107 kg category with a lift of 184 kg and the Kuwait sprinter Ahmad Almutairi set a new record in the Mens 100m T33 class.
There were some notable performances including European records in Athletics by Amanda Kotaja, (Finland), GB sprinters Kyle Powell and Toby Gold and Americas records by Alexa Haiko and Aubrey Headon.
Fresh from reaching the 1,500m T54 final at the Commonwealth Games, 18 year old GB racer Will Smith continued a fine run of form to claim three track medals. The Weir/Archer protégé retained his junior 800m title to take gold as well as winning 1500m silver and 5000 bronze.
These World Junior Games gave athletes valuable competition on their pathway to the Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
Hannah Cockcroft MBE won gold medals at the IWAS World Junior Games in 2011, and one year later became an athletics global star from her success at the London Paralympics. Other athletes who first made their international debuts at previous World Junior Games include GB's Hollie Arnold and Aled Davies and the Swiss racer Marcel Huig.