Arizona Grand Prix: Daniel Romanchuk breaks world record

USA’s T54 athlete becomes the first in his class to race 800m below the 1:30 mark 16 Jun 2018
Daniel Romanchuk racing on the track

Daniel Romanchuk breaks the T54 world record in Arizona.

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USA’s Daniel Romanchuk underlined just why he is fast becoming the man to watch in men’s wheelchair racing with a new world record at the Arizona Grand Prix on Friday (15 June).

The 20-year-old clocked 1:29.66 in the men’s 800m T54 heats to become the first in his class to dip below the 1:30 mark, breaking the previous record set by Briton Richard Chiassaro just two weeks ago.

“It was quite warm in the morning but I really had no other plan than to go out fast and see where that went, see what the track was like,” said Romanchuk, who went on to win the final at the meeting, which this year doubles as the US Nationals, in 1:30.39.

The American, whose best place finish at last year’s World Championships was seventh in the 800m T54, has made terrific progress this season.

Third place finishes at both the Boston and London marathons provided the first indication of his true potential, but he also showed he’s got what it takes on the track when he smashed the 5,000m T54 world record in Nottwil, Switzerland, earlier this month.

“This was very different conditions – it was a little windy out and very hot, but absolutely just as satisfying,” added Romanchuk, who also won the 5,000m T54 later that evening, crossing the line in 10:46.83.

In the day’s other 800m races, Brian Siemann (1:44.65) was the clear winner in the men’s T53; Amanda McGrory (1:54.45) finished two seconds clear of the field to take gold in the women’s T54 and Chelsea McClammer (1:58.74) claimed the win in the women’s T53 event.

World and Paralympic silver medallist Alexa Halko (2:20:50) won the women’s 800m T34 while the men’s event was won by teammate Austin Pruitt (1:47.49).

In the sprints, current world number two Jarryd Wallace (11.02) claimed his fourth consecutive 100m win at the Arizona Grand Prix as he finished 0.07 seconds ahead of former world champion Richard Browne (11.09) in the men’s 100m T64.

Browne missed both the Rio 2016 Games and 2017 World Championships through injury, and briefly contemplated retirement, but he’s back this season with his sights set on major medals once again.

Reigning world and Paralympic champion David Brown (11.12) saw off teammate Lex Gillette (11.68) to safely retain his 100m T11 national title, while London 2017 champion Ray Martin (16.95) also scored a notable win against his big rival Gianfranco Iannotta (17.35), gold medallist at Rio 2016, in the men’s 100m T52.

There were 100m wins too for Stirley Jones Jr. (10.67) in the men’s T12; Isaac Jean-Paul in the T13; Tanner Wright (11.05) in the T46; Siemann (15.39) in the T53; Erik Hightower (15.00) in the T54; Jaleen Roberts (13.87) in the women’s T37; Femita Ayanbeku (13.22) in the women’s T64; Kym Crosby (12.76) in the women’s T13 and Hannah McFadden (16.76) in the women’s T54.

Double Paralympic and world champion Deja Young (25.27) was the standout winner in the 200m T46.

In the day’s longer races, middle-distance man Mikey Brannigan (3:55.59) secured his fourth national title with a dominant win in the men’s 1,500m T20; Canadian Liam Stanley (4:13.76) won the 1,500m T37 and Siemann(10:47.22) notched up a hat-trick of wins with victory in the 5,000m T53.

Multi-eventer Roderick Townsend-Roberts claimed two wins in the field, clearing 2.05m in the high jump and leaping 7.20m in the long jump T46.

American Jean-Paul, who made a memorable championship debut when he broke the high jump T13 world record three times in succession at London 2017, claimed the win in the men’s long jump T13 to add to his sprint success despite registering four fouls.

The visually impaired star managed 6.78m with his final leap of the day.

Jaleen Roberts also made her major senior international debut at last year’s World Championships, where she won a silver medal in the long jump T37 behind China’s Xiaoyan Wen. The 19-year-old climbed to the top of the podium this time thanks to her opening effort of 4.63m.

The women’s long jump T47 went to form as world champion Taleah Williams (5.15m) took gold.

As well as finishing second in the 100m, Richard Browne also lined up in the men’s long jump T64 and claimed gold thanks to his second-round effort of 6.82m.

The Arizona Grand Prix concludes on Saturday 16 June. Full results can be found here.