Australia has gained a Paralympic Athletics champion as Vanessa Low announced on Tuesday that she will be switching her international affiliation from Germany to Australia.
Low will be competing as an Australian for the first time on June 23rd at the Integrative Sports Festival hosted by her German club, TSV Bayer 04 Leverkusen in Leverkusen. That is Low’s home town but she has since moved to Australia, following time in the United States.
With athletes leading up to the World Para Athletics Championships world records have continued to fall as the action moved to Berlin for the Berlin Grand Prix this weekend.
Most notably there were two world records for the Brazilian F52 thrower Andre Rocha, who has been returning since April, from surgery. He broke the world record for shot put record with his first throw in the competition and in the discus a day later, again with his first throw, breaking his own record in both events.
World Para Athletics announced on Wednesday that the World Championships will be streamed at the official event website.
Every second of the action in London next month will be streamed live, so fans will not have to miss any of the action. That will see 213 medal events with 1300 athletes from 100 countries competing in what should be a phenomenal world championships.
British Athletics announced their team for the World Para Athletics Championships on Wednesday, revealing their 49-strong team for their home world championships event.
The team has ten athletes which won gold medals in the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, combined the team has 21 Paralympic medals from Rio. The stars of the team are Hannah Cockroft, Aled Davies, Jonnie Peacock, and Richard Whitehead who were all featured in Wednesday’s announcement.
Australia has named their team for the World Para Athletics Championships in London next month naming 37 athletes for the event, announcing their squad on Wednesday.
After winning 26 medals in the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games with three of them gold and unsurprisingly those three gold medalists have entered the team. James Turner, Scott Reardon, and Brayden Davidson all won gold medals at Rio and come in to the world championships team.
The Notwill Para Athletics Grand Prix continued to have stunning performances with three more world records broken on the last day of competition on Monday.
In her first ever race over 400m Belgian athlete Gitte Haenen set a new T42 world record showing an incredible start to her career. Haenen only begun competing six months ago after recovering from her amputation following an injury in Thai boxing many years ago. Haenen could well be one of the best ever as she broke the world record at her first attempt, running 1:28.76.
“I always wanted to be a world champion in Thai boxing but that’s not possible anymore. I thought just because I can’t be a Thai boxer anymore doesn’t mean I can’t be good in another sport. My motto is when life punches you, you punch back harder.” Said Haenen after her incredible performance.
Ben Rawlings of Great Britain also set his first world record as he won the men’s 500m T34 race in a phenomenal performance. Rawlings destroyed Austin Pruitt’s old record managing to take almost 20 seconds off of the old mark as he raced 12:02.00 to set the new mark, making a sub 12 minute race agonizingly close. For reference the men’s non-para world record is 12:37.35, making para athletes over 30 seconds faster.
That race was a phenomenal team performance from the British racers as Isaac Towers worked with him throughout the race to help the record. Towers and Rawlings worked together to push the pace and that’s what made the world record possible, with Rawlings giving credit to Towers after the race.
The final record which fell on the final day came in another 5000m race as Louzanne Coetzee of South Africa broke her own mark. She dropped a minute off her world record as she finished in 18:14.27 to complete a great meet for her.
With the home crowd behind him Marcel Hug wanted to go out and get back his 5000m T54 world record from Rawat Tana. He was able to race a negative split but just couldn’t get enough speed together as he finished in 9:48.48, just nine seconds shy of the record.
The women’s edition of the same race was a thrilling race and one that disappointed the home crowd as Lihong Zou beat Manuela Schar. The two set the pace from the very start of the race but in the end Zou was able to push away from Schar to win the race in a time of 11:42.58, just two seconds clear of Schar.
As athletes build to the Para Athletics World Championships in less than two months four world records were broken at the Notwill Grand Prix in Switzerland on Friday night.
A sub 23 second men’s 200m T42 is getting perilously close as the world record is now down to 23.01 seconds. British runner Richard Whitehead ran the time, shaving .02 off his world record as he approaches what is likely his final meet.