Thirteen of the 15 world records at the Berlin 2018 European Championships came out in the field as Poland’s Para athletes excelled, notching up five field event world records of their own and finishing top of the medals table.
Bartosz Tyszkowski got Poland off to a flying start, claiming the first gold and the first world record of the championships - and upsetting home hopes in the process as he got the better of Germany’s world and Paralympic champion Niko Kappel.
Tyszkowski smashed the shot put F41 world record twice on his way to victory, finishing with 14.04m.
Teammates Lucyna Kornobys (women’s shot put and javelin F33), Renata Sliwinska (women’s shot put F40) and Karolina Kucharczyk (women’s long jump T20) were also in world record-breaking form.
Long jump events provided a further two world records thanks to home favourite Markus Rehm and French Paralympic champion Marie-Amelie le Fur.
Rehm delighted the home crowds with a final round leap of 8.48m in the long jump T64 – ever closer to the 8.50m-mark he now covets.
Le Fur leapt into the history books with a new women’s long jump T64 world record of 6.01m – the first in her class to pass the six-metre mark – a massive 18 centimetres further than the previous record which she set at Rio 2016.
The 29-year-old’s achievement was all the more remarkable – and for many, emotional - as it came just months after the devastating news that she had lost her unborn baby.
Denmark’s Daniel Wagner safely defended his European title with a win in the men’s long jump T63 as Germany’s Heinrich Popow bowed out from Para athletics after an exceptional career which included eight Paralympic medals – two of which were gold.
“Being able to compete against Popow in his last competition in his career is special,” said Wagner, who leapt a new personal best of 6.72m, celebrating afterwards with his trademark backflip in front of the crowds.
There were also world records for Serbia’s Nebojsa Duric (discus F55); Italy’s Oney Tapia (discus F11); Germany’s Birgit Kober (women’s shot put F36); Ukrainians Zoia Ovsii (women’s club throw F51) and Iana Lebiedieva (women’s discus F53) and Ireland’s Noelle Lenihan, who smashed her own discus F38 world record twice on her way to European Championship gold.
Just as she did after the London 2017 World Championships, Latvia’s Diana Dadzite returned home as the most decorated thrower, winning three golds – the shot put F55, discus F55 and javelin F56.
World and Paralympic champion Martina Caironi leapt a superb personal best and world lead 4.91m in the long jump T63 to add to her victory over 100m.
Two golds went Briton Aled Davies’ way – the shot put and discus F63 - despite breaking his leg brace just before competition got underway.
Italian Tapey (discus and shot put F11), Belarusian Yuliya Nezhura (women’s javelin and shot put F54), Ukrainian Anastasiia Moskalenko (women’s club throw and shot put F32) and Poland’s Maciej Sochal (club throw and shot put F32) also won double gold.
Sweden’s Viktoria Karlsson (4.77m) claimed her third consecutive European title in the women’s long jump T11; Spain’s Sara Martinez (5.42m) also completed her hat-trick, winning the women’s long jump T12.
But a third European gold wasn’t to be for Iceland’s Helgi Sveinsson, who was beaten by Frenchman Falelavaki in the javelin F64.