Brilliant Berlin brings Grand Prix series to an end

The second and final day (Sunday 1 July) of the Berlin Grand Prix saw a wealth of records, world leads and high-class performances to bring the curtain down on the 2018 World Para Athletics Grand Prix season in fine style.

Top of the bill for the second day running at the city’s Friedrich Ludwig Jahn Sportpark were throwers Elizabeth Gomes from Brazil and India’s Yogesh Kathuniya.

Gomes broke the world F52 discus record on Saturday and simply swapped equipment to set a new world javelin F52 mark of 14.16m, beating the previous best set by Antonia Balek of Croatia, which had stood for nine years.

It was another memorable day and a similar story for Kathuniya who broke the discus F36 record on Saturday then followed up by bettering the javelin F36 world record with a brilliant opening-round effort of 49.49m – almost six metres further than anyone has thrown before.

There was another huge world record in the field on Sunday with Brazil’s double world champion Thiago Paulino dos Santos adding 49 centimetres to his previous mark in the discus F57 with his best of 48.53m.

“We always prepare ourselves to give our best in the event,” said dos Santos. “Of course, it is not always in the way we imagined. In the shot put, I got the gold medal, but in my view it was not my best. But thank God, in the discus I managed some good throwing and broke the world record one more time.”

Records weren’t confined to the field however. Brazil’s Paralympic and world champion Petrucio Ferreira boke his own 100m T47 record in Paris last month – and he repeated the trick in Berlin, this time over 200m.

The 21-year-old clocked 21.17 to shave four hundredths of a second off his previous record for the half-lap.

Canada’s Nate Riech clocked a new 1,500m T38 world record – knocking nearly eight seconds off Australian Deon Kenzie’s time set last year.

Riech’s brilliant run brought him a new best of 3:57.92.

To complete the world record-breaking day, South Africa’s Louzanne Coetzee knocked 14 seconds from her previous 5,000m T11 mark with a new time of 18:00.34.
Euros boost

With the Berlin 2018 European Championships just two months away – and set to take place at the same venue – there were a number of eye-catching performances from the continent’s elite.

There was encouragement for the host nation as Germany’s Martina Willing threw a world lead of 21.96m in the women’s javelin F56.

Luxembourg’s Tom Habscheid improved his own world lead in the men’s shot put F63 with a throw of 14.79m.

World and European champion Joanna Mazur of Poland was among Sunday’s success stories, winning the women’s 5,000m T11 in 5:04.87.

And there was a double celebration on the track for Turkey.

World bronze medallist Oguz Akbulut marked himself down as a key contender for European Championship gold as he won the men’s 200m T12 in 23.14. The 26-year-old was encouraged by his form as the build-up continues to Berlin 2018.

He said: “For me the race was good. We are just preparing for the European Championships and this was our last competition so we’ll prepare and get ready, but this competition was okay.

“The season has gone well but I’ve had some injuries and I’ve had to rest. I tried to recover and now we’re trying to reach my peak level and I’ll do my best at the European Championships.”

Akbulut’s Turkey teammate Mehmet Oner was one of the big winners on Saturday with victory in the men’s 800m T11/12.

Sunday brought another middle-distance win for the 23-year-old – this time in the 1,500m as he finished first in a time of 4:21.56.

Worldwide success

The final day of the Grand Prix season did not just belong to Europeans however with a number of other high-class performances.

South Africa’s Situ Ntombizanele was just three centimetres away from recording the longest throw of the year in the women’s javelin F54 with a throw of 17.41m.

American Stirley Jones did put himself at the top of 2018 rankings however in the men’s 200m T13with a time of 21.71.

Meanwhile in the 200m T11, there was victory for Namibia in the shape of Paralympic champion Ananais Shikongo who clocked 24.20.

It was a meeting at which Brazilian Para athletes demonstrated their strength – as well as Gomes, dos Santos and Ferreira, there were plenty of other competitors who will look back at Berlin with satisfaction.

There was a great battle in the men’s long jump T11 with Brazil’s Paralympic champion Ricardo Costa de Oliveira getting the better of the American world champion Lex Gillette.

Costa de Oliveira prevailed with a leap of 6.31 metres, 24 centimetres ahead of Gillette.

And double Paralympic silver medallist Fabio Da Silva Bordignon clocked 26.14 in the 200m T35 – the second fastest time in the world this year – while compatriot Mateus Cardoso won the men’s 200mT37 in 24.18.

 

Source: paralympic.org