Brazil’s Andre Rocha was the star of day two (27 April) of the Sao Paulo World Para Athletics Grand Prix, breaking a world record* that has stood for almost 20 years. Rocha threw a stunning 8.73m in the men’s shot put F53 - 1cm longer than the previous record Mexican Mauro Maximo de Jesus established at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games.
"I got the mark right on the first try. I was feeling good, but also a little bit anxious. It seemed like the first time I was going to compete in a shot put event. It was good that I got a good mark", said the 51-year-old athlete.
Rocha headed a string of high quality performances on a thrilling Friday in Sao Paulo. Cuban Omara Durand shone in the women's 200m T12 with a 2018 world-leading time of 23.70.
Long-distance runners also made their mark on the track as Ethiopia's Tamiru Demisse crossed the line in the men's 1.500m T13 in 3.56.13 to also top the world ranking in 2018. Chilean Ignacio Sepulveda was the gold medallist in the 1,500m T46 with a time of 4.05.39.
Brazil continued its dominance in the long jump events as Silvania Costa de Oliveira claimed gold in the women's T11 with a jump of 4.80m in her first competition since giving birth last year. Her brother Ricardo Costa Oliveira made it a double win for the family, topping the men's event with a 6.22m mark. Rodrigo Parreira was the man to beat in the T36 reaching 5.21m, and Mateus Evangelista topped the T37 with a 6.22m jump.
The home nation also had more reason to celebrate in the field. World and Paralympic champion Alessandro Rodrigo dominated the men's discus throw F11 with the best performance in the world in 2018 (43.17m). F57 Shot put world champion Thiago Paulino almost set a personal best with a 14.65 performance, just 1cm shy of his mark.
The Sao Paulo Grand Prix runs until Saturday (28 April). More than 230 Para athletes line up at the event which doubles as the 2018 Loterias Caixa Athletics Open Championships.
*subject to ratification by World Para Athletics