Background to the Classic
Our first Classic was held in the lead up to the London 2012 – a small, but successful evening competition that helped forge its reputation for fast times and a friendly welcome. The success of this has led to an annual event, with the seventh being held at the Coventry athletics track in September 2018, a little later this year due to the back-to-back European Champs in Berlin.
This fixture, supported by the Sports and Play Construction Association (SAPCA), is developing into a showcase competition for wheelchair racers in the UK.
The meet isn’t just about Paralympic sport, but a ‘Parallel Success’ competition embracing Godiva Kids, Club Sprinters, Midland & Warwickshire 3000m Championships. Carrying on the legacy of 2012, the ‘Classic’ provides an opportunity for local young athletes to embrace their first competition and experience the benefits of the coaching and equipment provided by Coventry Godiva Harriers. Apart from Godiva Kids, the 2014 event also saw a complete line-up of Under 11 wheelchair racers from across the UK, a theme that has continued since.
A few landmarks have been achieved along the way. Hannah Cockroft’s sub 2 minute 800m was ratified as a World Record in 2016. The fixture has served as an opportunity to set qualifying marks and last minute preparations ahead of the IPC European Athletics Championships, Commonwealth Games, IPC World Championships and the Rio Paralympic Games in 2016. We have welcomed international athletes and teams from across Europe and further afield, including the Australian Commonwealth team in 2014, team Ghana preparing for London 2012 and Iceland’s first wheelchair racer!
The Coventry club is now recognised among the UK’s clubs for wheelchair racing excellence. We now have a dedicated wheelchair training and storage centre, and thanks to a series of charitable donations, the club has racing chairs available for newcomers to get started.