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2013 IPC Athletics World Championships

Leo Pekka Tahti and Kenny van Weeghel at Lyon

Leo Pekka Tahti and Kenny van Weeghel at Lyon

Toni Piispanen Lyon 2013

Toni Piispanen Lyon 2013

Iris Pruysen Lyon

Iris Pruysen Lyon

Scott Reardon excited for Berlin showdown with Heinrich Popow

Australia’s Scott Reardon is relishing the prospect of racing Heinrich Popow in Berlin next weekend (20-22 June) for the first time since they tied for gold at last year’s World Championships, and believes that eventually either he or his German rival will smash the 12 second barrier for the 100m T42.

Scott Reardon and Heinrich Popow Reardon and Popow shared the 100m T42 gold medal at the 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships. © • IPC

“I’m training well and feeling stronger and better than I was this time last year so we’ll have to see how it goes. The proof will be in the results.”

At the 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships in Lyon, France, Reardon and Popow both stood top of the podium after clocking 12.68 seconds in a stunning race. The two have not raced each other since, but are now set to go head-to-head at the IPC Athletics Grand Prix in the German capital on Saturday 21 June.

The two’s rivalry first came to prominence at the London 2012 Paralympic Games when Popow pipped Reardon to gold by just 0.03 seconds. With both racers clearly bringing the best out of each other, the 24 year-old thinks that Popow’s world record of 12.11 is under serious threat in the near future as is another landmark in T42 sprinting.

“There is no doubt that a T42 athlete will go under 12 seconds,” said Reardon who also won 200m silver at last year’s World Championships. “Whether that happens this season or next season who knows, but within the next two years someone will certainly go under that time.

“If conditions are perfect in Berlin and preparations connected to the race have been going well then who knows how long that barrier will last. It will be broken sooner rather than later.”

Having suffered a number of injuries earlier this season, Reardon used his time off the track to correct a number of little mistakes which he believes will improve his performance. Although he says he is still “work in progress”, he took great confidence from racing well at April’s IPC Athletics Grand Prix in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

“I’m training well and feeling stronger and better than I was this time last year so we’ll have to see how it goes. The proof will be in the results,” said Reardon.

“Heinrich is probably a little like me, unsure of where his form is, but we’ll both run fast as we both bring the best out of each other.

“We are both competitive guys who want to run as fast as we possibly can.

“If I can go out and execute a race and, if I’m in as good shape as I think I am in, then who knows, anything could happen in Berlin. We’re competitive guys and each time we go on to the track we always want to run fast. This race will not be any different.”

Despite their huge rivalry on the track, Reardon and Popow remain friends off it, but the fromer world champion water skier admits to not paying too much attention to his rival’s results.

“We have a fairly civil relationship off the track,” explained Reardon. “It comes with all the top athletes. There is a lot of respect for each other. I get along with him just fine. However, as soon as we step on to the track, as most competitors do, you dislike the person standing next to you as you want to beat them.

“I try not to think about what my competitors are doing and try not to follow their results. I cannot control what my other competitors are going to be doing in a race.

“If I can go out there and run as fast as I possibly can then I’m going to be tough to beat, but if Heinrich is good enough to beat me on the day then that’s fair enough.”

Having made such great progress in recent years, Reardon is reluctant to position himself as 30-year-old Popow’s natural successor. He is confident though he will be harder to beat as he gets closer to the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

“I’ve still got a lot more progression to make between now and Rio and things are going well. If I can stay injury and illness free and keep progressing over the years then I can explore a few options and try to get a little more speed.

“When I broke the world record last year, it was maybe a little too early. I was only four years into my track career and still had lots to work on. It was unexpected.

“I think over the next two years things will come together a little more. I will be disappointed if I’m not running faster in Rio than I am now.”

Scott Reardon will be one of more than 570 athletes from 34 countries competing at the IPC Athletics Grand Prix in Berlin, Germany, between 20 and 22 June. Other big names to feature include the Netherlands’ Marlou van Rhijn, Great Britain’s Richard Whitehead, Brazil’s Terezinha Guilhermina and Finland’s Leo Pekka-Tahti.

The event in Berlin is supported by Allianz, IPC Athletics’ international partner.

For all the latest information on the event please visit the event homepage.

Italian Annalisa Minetti Lyon 2013

Italian Annalisa Minetti Lyon 2013

Dias, Schnarndorf Ribeiro voted best para-athletes of 2013 in Brazil

Para-swimming made a big splash at the 2013 Brazilian Paralympic Awards held on Wednesday night (11 December) in Rio de Janeiro with Daniel Dias and Susana Schnarndorf Ribeiro scooping the top awards voted for by the public.

Brazilian athletes celebrate 1000 days to go until Rio 2016 Brazilian athletes celebrate 1000 days to go until Rio 2016 © • Rio 2016

The awards were based on the performances of athletes in the major competitions of 2013

Held at Museum of Modern Art on the eve of 1,000 days to go until the 2016 Paralympic Games in the city, the awards recognised the best male and female athletes of the year as well as the top athletes in each of the 22 Paralympic summer sports, the best coaches in individual and group sports, and the best new athlete.

Amongst the guests at the star-studded ceremony were International Paralympic Committee President Sir Philip Craven; Brazil’s Minister of Sports, Aldo Rebelo; the national secretary for High Performance Sports, Ricardo Leyser and two-time Formula 1 driver Emerson Fittipaldi.

It was the second time that multi-Paralympic and world champion Dias has been voted athlete of the year, after the public also voted for him in 2011. The swimmer’s six gold and two silver medals at August’s IPC Swimming World Championships in Montreal, Canada, tipped the public vote in his favour and saw him finish ahead of runners Alan Fonteles Cardoso de Oliveira and Odair Santos - both champions at the 2013 IPC Athletics World Championship in Lyon, France.

Earlier this year, Dias also became Brazil’s first ever two-time recipient of the Laureus Award for his performances at London 2012, an event that saw him become Brazil’s all-time top Paralympic medal winner.

For Susana Schnarndorf Ribeiro, the award was a new experience. Originally from the south of Brazil, the athlete now lives in Rio de Janeiro and was nominated for the award with two other 2013 world champions: 17-year old sprinter Verônica Hipólito - the winner of the 2013 best new athlete award - and sprinter Terezinha Guilhermina, voted best athlete in 2011 and 2012.

The award crowned Scharndorf Ribeiro’s fabulous season which saw her win the world title in the 100m breaststroke SB6 and bronze in the 400m freestyle S6. Schnarndorf also won national competitions in the Caixa Loterias Circuit and broke several Brazilian records in the S6 category.

The awards were based on the performances of athletes in the major competitions of 2013, recipients were nominated by coaches and managers of the various sports associations and voted for by the public between 30 November and 9 December via the Brazilian Paralympic Committee website.

The other award winners were:

Best individual sports coach: Amaury Wagner Veríssimo

Best coach of team sports: Fernando Guimarães (sitting volleyball)

Best athletes by sport:

Athletics: Alan Fonteles Cardoso de Oliveira

Wheelchair basketball: Lia Maria Soares Martins

Boccia: Maciel Sousa Santos

Paracanoe: Fernando Fernandes de Padua

Para-cycling: Soelito Gohr

Wheelchair fencing: Jovane Silva Guissone

Football 5-a-side: Jeferson da Conceição Gonçalves (Jefinho)

Football 7-a-side: Wanderson Silva de Oliveira

Goalball: Romário Diego Marques

Powerlifting: Evânio Rodrigues da Silva

Equestrian: Vera Lúcia Martins Mazzilli

Judo: Lúcia da Silva Teixeira

Swimming: Daniel Dias

Rowing: Claudia Cicero Santos Sabino

Wheelchair rugby: Alexandre Vitor Giuriato

Table tennis: Bruna Costa Alexandre

Wheelchair tennis: Carlos Alberto Chaves dos Santos (Jordan)

Archery: Andrey Muniz de Castro

Shooting: Geraldo Von Rosenthal

Triathlon: Marcelo Collet and Mauro Silva

Sailing: Antonio Marcos do Carmo

Sitting volleyball: Anderson Ribas da Silva

No. 30: Markus Rehm’s historic 7.95m jump

Germany’s Markus Rehm jumped a distance this season that would have put him in the long jump final of the able-bodied World Championships.

© •

“It’s definitely possible and I want to be the first one jumping 8m.”

It was the leap of the Championships: 7.95m.

No one in the world of para-athletics has ever jumped that far. That is, until Germany’s Markus Germany did last summer during the 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships in Lyon, France.

7.95m, a distance hardly anyone thought possible. Even Rehm and his coach, Steffi Nerius – a former IAAF javelin World Champion – didn’t think of it.

“We both knew that, if everything goes well, 7.50m would be possible,” Rehm said. “That’s what I had shown during practice and it was a realistic goal.”

“It was an intense moment. I felt that I hit the board perfectly, and when I landed I tried to get the most out of it. When I saw the 8m mark next to me I knew this was pretty good.

“I looked back at the officials and was happy when they raised the white flag. I thought 7.50m would be great, but then the 7.95m came up and I was just shocked.”

This jump would have secured Rehm a spot in the final of the 2013 IAAF World Championships in Moscow, Russia.

Never in doubt

The season has not gone all that well for Rehm, who had fractured his hand earlier in the season and had some muscular issues. And then there was bursitis in his right knee just before Lyon, which caused swelling and quite a bit of pain when he put on his prosthesis.

“I arrived at the venue on crutches, because of the swelling in my knee,” Rehm said, “I didn’t really get into the prosthesis, but I knew that when I put it on and walk or run on it for about 10 minutes, the pain will be gone and it will be OK.

“I only put it on just before the event when I had to warm up. I wasn’t in pain while jumping, the swelling was just not that comfortable.”

While some of his competitors might have thought they got a shot at beating Rehm, he was never in any doubt during the competition who would win the gold medal.

“After the 7.95m I could feel that they were shocked as well,” he said. “They knew it would be hard to beat me, but I don’t think they expected that.”

Pushing the boundaries even further

Rehm lost his right leg in 2003 in a wakeboarding accident. Even though he stayed active and fit throughout, he did not pick up athletics until 2008.

“I had done lots of athletics also before the accident, so I quickly picked it up again,” he said.“And soon, I realised that I do have some talent for that, so I decided to try doing it on a high-performance level.”

He then moved to Leverkusen in 2009, where he started to work with his coach Steffi Nerius, a highly decorated athlete herself in able-bodied athletics.

“Steffijustknows the right timing, she always gets me in shape in time for the season’s highlight,” Rehm said.“She has a big stake in this and I am very thankful for her support.”

After the successful Championships in Lyon, the 25-year-old went back to his normal life, doing one to two training sessions each day and working as an orthopedic technician.

But he is already looking ahead and setting himself new goals for the future.

“The next goals are the upcoming competitions next year, with theEuropean Championships in Swansea, and possibly also some national able-bodied events,” he said.

“And I do believe in the 8m. It will be really hard, I am realistic. But I believe in it, that’s what I train for, that’s my motivation in the winter.

“It’s always been so far away, and now it’s so close.

“It’s definitely possible and I want to be the first one jumping 8m.”

30. Markus Rehm jumps 7.95m at Lyon 2013

30. Markus Rehm jumps 7.95m at Lyon 2013

Athlete from the UAE at Lyon 2013

Athlete from the UAE at Lyon 2013

Tunisian Athletes celebrate at Lyon 2013

Tunisian Athletes celebrate at Lyon 2013