Julie_ONeillThe US Olympic Committee is poised for a successful year in Paralympic sport in 2011, beginning with the IPC Athletics World Championships in Christchurch from January 21-30.

This competition is the first key step in the London 2012 qualification process and is the ideal forum for our athletes to have top performances in preparation for success at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

The 51 athletes who will represent Team USA have an impressive performance history, while also being extremely diverse.

Twenty-three Paralympians, 12 Paralympic medallists and seven world record holders are on the roster, joined by six military veterans and six high school students.

The 2011 squad includes the largest group of young athletes on a US Paralympics track and field team in recent history.

The six high school students on the roster were all nominated to the inaugural US Paralympics high school all-American track and field team in 2010 and have the potential for great success in London 2012 and beyond.

Among the group of US military veterans who will compete in Christchurch are Kortney Clemons, Carlos Leon and Scott Winkler - three of the four athletes who featured in the 2008 US Paralympics documentary film Warrior Champions, which documented their injury, recovery, training and preparation for the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games.

Team USA hope to improve upon their success in Beijing where they finished among the top three nations in the track and field medal count when competition commences in Christchurch.

Success in New Zealand will be the foundation for the next 18 months of preparation, planning and focus on the London 2012 Games.

Team USA is poised to lay a great foundation for performances in 2012 and beyond.

Wishing all athletes and teams at the 2011 IPC Athletics World Championships a highly successful competition.

Julie O'Neill is a team leader of sport performance at the United States Olympic Committee