Nine female and nine male sprinters have been named on the International Paralympic Committee’s (IPC) Ones to Watch list for the upcoming Para athletics season, which will kick off on 13 March with the first Grand Prix in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Selected by World Para Athletics, the Ones to Watch athletes are individuals who have the potential to make headlines this season.
The list includes world and Paralympic champions who stood out at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games and London 2017 World Championships.
Ones to watch lists for the longer track distances and for field events will be announced in the coming days.
Full biographies of the Ones to Watch for Para athletics are now available here.
Charl du Toit, South Africa
Motivated by his double gold medal performance at Rio 2016, South Africa’s T37 sprinter won two world titles at London 2017, the first time he reached the top of the podium at a Worlds after winning individual silver in 2015 and two bronze medals in 2013.
Georgina Hermitage, Great Britain
Only made her international debut in 2015, but has since claimed multiple Paralympic, world and European titles, and broken several records. Hermitage sealed two golds and one silver at the 2016 Paralympics, and followed that up with two world titles on home soil in London last year.
Hannah Cockroft, Great Britain
At just 25 years old, ‘Hurricane Hannah’ has already won five Paralympic, 10 world and two European titles. She dominated all three T34 sprint events at London 2017, even knocking 0.10 seconds off her previous 100m world record with a time of 17.18.
Isis Holt, Australia
Took up athletics just four years ago at the age of 14. Since then, Holt has won four gold medals in the T35 class over two World Championships. She could not top the podium at Rio 2016, winning two silvers and one bronze, but is preparing hard to achieve her biggest goal in two years’ time in Tokyo.
James Turner, Australia
Burst onto the international athletics scene at the Rio Paralympics, winning gold in the men’s 800m T36 and setting a world record of 2:02.39 along the way, and was subsequently awarded the Medal of Order of Australia. One year later, Turner claimed a hat-trick of world titles at London 2017.
Jarryd Wallace, USA
Rapidly recovered from his disappointing performance at Rio 2016, where he could not medal despite being a leading contender, and claimed gold in the men’s 200m T44 at London 2017. He also took bronze in the 100m T44.
Jason Smyth, Ireland
The world’s fastest Paralympian aims to extend his unbeaten run this year, which already stands at over a decade. In 2017, the Irishman stormed to double gold at the World Championships with victories in both the men’s 100m and 200m T13.
Johannes Floors, Germany
Cemented his place as one of the world’s fastest runners in the T43 class by claiming triple gold at London 2017. Germany’s double-amputee athlete won the men’s 200m and 400m T43, and 4x100m T42-47 relay. He also took silver in the 100m T44.
Leilia Adzhametova, Ukraine
Became the new queen of the track in the T13 class after securing three golds at last year’s World Championships. She set a European record in the women’s 200m T13 and a Championships record in the 100m, before going on to win the 400m race.
Mahdi Afri, Morocco
Clinched his first major international title at London 2017, where he won both the men’s 200m and 400m T12, becoming one of Africa’s best Para athletes. He also won one silver and one bronze at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio.
Marlou van Rhijn, Netherlands
After dominating the women’s T44 sprint events for several years, the Dutchwoman suffered a rare defeat in the 100m at last year’s World Championships. But van Rhijn is hoping to bounce back quickly and show she is still the world’s best.
Martina Caironi, Italy
One of Italy’s most renowned Para athletes has so far claimed two Paralympic, five world and two European titles. At London 2017, she won the 100m T42 with a time of 14.65 - the only athlete to go under 15 seconds. Caironi added another gold to her haul in the long jump T42.
Ntando Mahlangu, South Africa
At 15 years old, Mahlangu is considered one of the most talented teenagers on the Para athletics scene, having taken four golds at the first World Junior Championships in 2017. He has also shone at senior competitions, having won silver in the men’s 200m T42 at both Rio 2016 and London 2017.
Peter Genyn, Belgium
Will be favourite for gold in the men’s 100m and 400m T51 at this year’s European Championships in Berlin, Germany. Genyn has claimed the title in both events at the last two World Championships, the 2015 Europeans and the 2016 Paralympics.
Petrucio Ferreira, Brazil
Much was expected from Ferreira at London 2017 after winning one gold and two silvers on home soil at the Rio Paralympics. And the Brazilian delivered an outstanding performance to claim double gold in the men’s 100m and 200m T47.
Samantha Kinghorn, Great Britain
Last season was her most successful one so far, winning gold in the women’s 100m and 200m T53, and bronze in the 400m T53 at the World Championships.
Shi Yiting, China
Aged 19 years old, had a formidable first World Championships in London, winning the 100m T36 in world record time (13.68) and the 200m T36 after clocking a Championships record time of 28.92. The previous year, Shi had claimed her first Paralympic title in the 200m, in Rio.
Sophie Hahn, Great Britain
Hahn is considered a veteran in the sport at just 21, having competed at three Worlds, one Europeans and one Paralympics. She has so far won multiple titles, including gold in the 100m T38 at Rio 2016 and two world titles in the 100m and 200m T38 at London 2017, setting a new world record in the latter.
Information about the Grand Prix circuit can be found on World Para Athletics’ website.