IPC Athletics World Championships
19-29 July

Heinrich Popow: Uh oh, Reardon's on a roll

Germany’s world and Paralympic champion Heinrich Popow talks up Australian Scott Reardon heading into the IPC Athletics Worlds. 19 Jun 2013
A picture of men running on a track

Scott Reardon crosses the finish line to win silver medal between two Germans, Heinrich Popow (gold) and Wojtek Czyz (bronze) in the Men's 100m T42 at the Paralympic Games in London

ⒸGetty Images

“I think the next few years will be a really tough fight between him and me.”

Germany’s defending Paralympic champion Heinrich Popow nearly broke his own 100m T42 world record on Saturday (15 June) at the IPC Athletics Grand Prix meet in Berlin.

He clocked a 12.12, but a tailwind factor of 2.1m/s meant it would not stand as a new world-best time.

Although he’s now run the fastest 100m of any T42 athlete this season heading into July’s IPC Athletics World Championships in Lyon, France, Popow would rather have the attention be on his opponents.

Specifically, Australia’s Scott Reardon, who earlier this season officially equalled Canadian Earle Connor’s 100m T42 world record of 12.14.

In fact, when asked about his own progress, Popow immediately shifts the focus to 23-year-old.

“He brings a lot of pressure on me,” Popow said of Reardon. “He’s the man to watch over the next years, and he’s the man I’m focused on right now.

“Normally, gold medallists say they have to focus on themselves, but I think we must not be arrogant and should have to watch our rivals. I’m always watching Scott. If you look in our class, he’s the guy who runs the smoothest. He’s really, really doing well, and I’m happy to have him in my class.

“I think the next few years will be a really tough fight between him and me.”

Popow beat Reardon to gold by just a mere three hundredths of a second at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, and the photo-finish has increased interest in the race for the next Paralympic cycle.

Reardon, who runs on an Ottobock leg like Popow, has been into the equipment side of para-sport ever since he became a water skiing world champion.

“We need guys like him in our sport who are into the technical side of things, too,” Popow said.

“He knows what we need to change and to move forward in the Paralympic Movement.”

Also the defending world champion, Popow added that in general the T42 class has a lot more “quality” heading into Lyon than it did two years ago at the World Championships in Christchurch, New Zealand.

All of the sprinters – Popow, Reardon, Connor, Japan’s Atsushi Yamamoto, France’s Clavel Kayitare and the USA’s Shaquille Vance – have upped their times tremendously, which Popow credits to their improved techniques on the track.

Of the pack, Popow finished first in Christchurch in 12.56, with Reardon coming fourth in 13.45.

Both have the potential to close in on the 12-second mark in Lyon.

The Popow-Reardon 100m T42 showdown will take place at 20:20 (CET) on 26 July at the 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships, which run from 19-28 July in Lyon, France.

Related Videos