2018 in Review: World Para Athletics Grand Prix

Beginning our look back on the year’s decisive moments 05 Dec 2018
By World Para Athletics

With Christmas fast approaching there is no better time to start looking back on the biggest events of 2018. Over the next three weeks we will bringing you some of the key moments, talking points and performances to remember over the last 12 months. For athletics, we begin with the 2018 Grand Prix.

The series took in nine countries and four continents, starting in Dubai, UAE, in March and ending in Berlin, Germany, four months later. Let’s spell out what happened…

G Is for Genyn - Peter Genyn, Belgium’s wheelchair racer, who broke the 100m and 400m T51 world records at the Nottwil Grand Prix this year. It is the third year in a row Genyn has smashed world records at the Swiss track.

R Records tumbled throughout the 2018 Grand Prix series – there were 24 new world records in all, with eight from field events and 16 out on the track.

A Africa’s athletes were in terrific form – South Africans Charl du Toit, Anrune Liebenberg and Hilton Langenhoven all won at the Paris Grand Prix and again in Tunis; Louzanne Coetzee smashed the 5,000m T11 in Berlin; Morocco’s Fouzia El Kassioui set a new discus F32 world record in Tunis and Algeria’s Nadia Medjmedj broke the discus F56 world record in Dubai.

N Ireland’s Niamh McCarthy made her intentions clear at the Rieti Grand Prix in June, smashing the women’s European discus F41 record on day one. She went on to clinch European gold with an even bigger throw two months later.

D Dubai in the United Arab Emirates played host to the opening Grand Prix of the year for the second year in a row, with star performers Yassine Gharbi and Raoua Tlili amongst those achieving multiple wins.

P Petrucio Ferreira came within 0.04 seconds of Jason Smyth’s time for the fastest Paralympian on the planet when he clocked 10.50 in the 100m T47 at the Paris Grand Prix in June.

R Daniel Romanchuk became the name on everyone’s lips this year – not least because of his exploits on the roads, winning two major marathons. The American, then aged just 19, also smashed the 800m T54 world record at the Arizona Grand Prix in June, clocking 1:29.66. He notched up wins in the 400m, 1500m and 5000m at the same event.

I Iran’s athletes were out in force at the Tunis Grand Prix in June - Saman Pakbaz, Mohsen Kaedi, Shahla Hadidi, Mahdi Olad, Mehdi Alizadeh and Siamak Saleh Farajzadeh dominated their events in Tunisia; all went on to finish on the podium at October’s Asian Para Games.

X Is for X-factor! The likes of China’s Cuiqing Liu (who smashed the 400m T11 world record in Beijing) Brazil’s Daniel Martins (who clocked a 400m T20 world lead in Sao Paulo) and Germany’s Johannes Floors (who set new 200m and 400m T62 world bests in Paris) all excelled at Grand Prix in 2018. Have they got what it takes to win on the world stage in 2019?