Great Britain’s Paralympic, world and European champion Aled Davies gave an emphatic reminder that he is the man to beat in the F42 discus with a world record breaking performance on Sunday 22 February, the opening day of competition at the IPC Athletics Grand Prix in Dubai, UAE.
The 23-year-old added 18cm to the F42 world record mark he set in Grosseto, Italy,nine months ago with a throw of 48.87m (1040 points) at the 7th Fazaa International Athletics Competition, the first in a series of nine IPC Athletics Grand Prix this year.
Switzerland’s five-time world champion Marcel Hug also kicked off his 2015 campaign in winning form with victory in the 800m T54, repeating his victory from last year. The Swiss ‘Silver Bullet’ clocked 1:37.82, with the Netherlands’ Kenny van Weeghel second in 1:38.00 and Thailand’s Prawat Wahoram third in 1:38.34.
Tunisia’s world and Paralympic champion Walid Ktila continued his domination of the T34 events with wins in the 200m and 800m. The 29-year-old, who set three new world records at the Dubai meeting last year, underlined his place at the top of the rankings as he got the better of local favourite Mohamed Hammadi , clocking 1:58.21 in the 800m with the UAE’s world silver medallist just behind in 1:58.37, while Great Britain’s Ben Rowlings finished third in 1:58.59.
Ktila added to that performance with a convincing victory in the 200m T34, crossing the line in 28.60 as Hammadi had to settle for second once again, clocking 29.53. The Netherlands’ Stefan Rusch was third in 30.74.
There was a similar story out on the track in the women’s T34 events, as Great Britain’s world and Paralympic champion Hannah Cockroft added to her winning tally with victory on day one in Dubai in the 800m and 200m.
Cockroft won the 800m T34 in 2:14.79, with the Dutch duo Desiree Vranken and Amy Siemons second and third respectively, and she also stole the show in the 200m, winning in 33.85, with Siemons getting the better of her compatriot this time around.
World 200m T54 champion Van Weeghel (25.47) followed up his second place finish in the 800m T54 with victory in the 200m. The 34-year-old - winner of the same event 12 months ago – saw off an impressive line-up that included the two athletes who picked up silver and bronze behind him at the IPC Athletics European Championships in Swansea, Great Britain, last summer – Germany’s Marc Schuh (26.02) and Finland’s Leo Pekka Tahti. Marcel Hug was third in 26.02.
France’s Pierre Fairbank triumphed in the 800m T53 - the European champion and world bronze medallist clocking 1:53.43. He also took the 200m T53 in 28.31 – following up his European win in Swansea, Great Britain last year.
South Africa’s world long jump T12 champion Hilton Langenhoven clinched victory in the 100m T12 in 11.41, beating last year’s winner, Andre Ndo Andeme from Cameroon. In the women’s 100m T13, Morocco’s world bronze medallist Sanae Benhama clocked 12.98 for a comfortable win.
Back out in the field, Metawa Abo Elkhir’s throw of 45.81m in the discus F57 was enough for the Egyptian to get the better of the gold and silver medallists from the 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships in Lyon, France. Russia’s world champion Alexey Ashapatov finished sixth with a best of 39.12m in his penultimate attempt, while Azerbaijan’s Samir Nabiyev clinched second with his throw of 44.56m.
Germany’s world long jump T44 champion Markus Rehm dominated the men’s long jump T35-38/42/44 competition, leaping 7.79m (1100 points) to seal victory.
In the men’s discus F32/51/52 Latvia’s Paralympic silver medallist Aigars Apinis (F52) scored 875 points, saving his best until last with a sixth and final throw of 18.36.
More than 450 athletes from 45 countries are in Dubai for the IPC Athletics Grand Prix which will continue through to Wednesday (25 February).
Live results from the Dubai Grand Prix can be found at the team-thomas.org.
The 2015 IPC Athletics Grand Prix series continues with the next event taking place in Brisbane, Australia next month. Meetings will then be held in Tunis, Tunisia; Beijing, China; Sao Paulo, Brazil; Mesa, USA; Nottwil, Switzerland; Grosseto, Italy, Berlin, Germany and the final which will be announced shortly.