China’s Yang Liwan has been a force to be reckoned with in the F54 throwing events since she climbed to the top of the podium at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
After making her Paralympic debut on home soil at Beijing 2008 where she finished out of the medals, Yang rose to the top in 2012, winning gold in both the shot put F54-56 (7.50m) and javelin F54/55/56 (17.89m) and setting new world records in both events.
At Rio 2016, Yang was favourite for shot put F54 gold, having reclaimed the world record five months earlier (Russia’s Mariia Bogacheva threw 7.83m in 2014) with a massive 7.90m at the Beijing Grand Prix.
She duly delivered, setting a new Paralympic record of 7.89m – just one centimetre shy of her best. However, she only managed to finish fourth in the javelin and fifth in the discus.
London 2017 was Yang’s most successful World Championships to date.
After winning two silver medals at Lyon 2013, then shot put F54 gold and javelin F54 silver at Doha 2015, she struck double gold at London 2017.
In the javelin F54, Yang threw a season’s best of 17.79m to get the better of Tunisia’s defending champion Hania Aidi, while in the shot put F54 she managed 7.43m – more than 60cm clear of her rivals.
She won a hat trick of titles at the 2014 Asian Para Games in Incheon, South Korea.