French Athletes Have Strong Start to Home Meet

Nantenin Keita

The home crowd was kept very happy as France had a strong day in the first ever day of competition at the Paris World Para Athletics Grand Prix on Tuesday.

The most notable performance came in the women’s 200m T13 from Nantenin Keita who dominated the race finishing well in front of the field in 26.46. But after the race she said she still wasn’t satisfied, looking to have an even faster time which is ominous ahead of the world championships in London later this year.

There were three more French wins in the day as Mandy Francois-Elie won her 200m event, the T35/37 in 28.26. There were then two men’s 200m wins for French athletes as Timotheee Adolphe won the T11 in 22.96 and Pierre Fairbank’s fast second half gave him the gold in the T34/53/54.

It was an exciting finish in the women’s T43-47 200m final as Irmgard Bensusan finished in 27.85 to win the gold medal. The Dutch sprinter Fleur Jong was .2 seconds back and had the race have been 210m she would certainly have won. Germany had a second gold medal in a 200m race as Johannes Floors won the men’s T43/44 in an improved time from his Rio 2016 time.

South Africa was also successful with impressive performances throughout the day as they had plenty of medals. The big win came in the men’s 200m T12 with Jonathan Ntutu managing 22.99 to claim gold, putting him close to challenging Cuban Leinier Pineda in the world rankings.

In the women’s T46-47 200m there was another win for South Africa as Anrune Liebenberg managed the win in 26.14. There were two other wins in the men’s races for South Africa, Charl du Toit managed a win on his return from injury in the T37 while Dyan Buis dominated the T38 race.

Morocco continued the wins for African nations as Mohamed Amguon won the men’s 200m T13 race in 22.09. Roman Pavlyk won for Ukraine in the T35-36 race, winning from start to finish in a time of 27.78.

There were also 800m events on the opening day of competition with Algerian Fouad Baka destroying the field in the most impressive performance in the event. He led from the opening gun and finished in a time of 1:51.72 well ahead of the field.

France also managed two more wins in the 800m events as two men won their races. Louis Radius managed 2:07.18 to claim the T37-38 and Julien Casoli claimed the T53/54 in 1:38.15.

The field events saw three good gold medals for African athletes in throwing events with Algerian Karim Betina showing why he is world number one as he won the men’s shot put F32 with 8.46m. Niriccab Aicha Layli managed two throwing gold first in the discus with 12.16 and then the shot put with 5.02.

A tight finish occurred in the women’s long jump T44 as Dutch jumper Marlene van Gansewinkel finished just one centimeter ahead of British jumper Stef Reid.

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