Athletics: Day nine preview

Great Britain’s Hannah Cockroft and South Africa’s Charl du Toit will go for their latest golds. 16 Sep 2016
Hannah Cockroft of Great Britain celebrates the victory in the Women's 400m T34 final at Olympic Stadium on day 7 of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

Hannah Cockroft of Great Britain celebrates the victory in the Women's 400m T34 final at Olympic Stadium on day 7 of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

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Fifteen Paralympic medals are up for grabs on Friday (16 September), the penultimate day of track and field action at Rio’s Olympic Stadium.

Great Britain’s Hannah Cockroft will be hoping to make it a golden hat-trick as she takes on her third and final event of Rio 2016, the women’s 800m T34.

The 24-year-old has already won the 100m and 400m T34 here but the 800m is by no means a foregone conclusion – Cockroft has made it clear she favours the shorter sprints. The USA’s Alexa Halko set a new world record earlier this year, although Cockroft claimed it back in August with the first sub two-minute time ever in the T34 class.

South Africa’s Charl du Toit will be hoping to complete his track double on Friday. The 23-year-old has already won the 100m T37 and runs in the 400m T37. He coasted through the heats and starts as the fastest on paper.

In the day’s middle-distance races, watch out for Algeria’s Samir Nouioua in the men’s 1,500m T46 and defending champion Barbara Niewiedzial of Poland in the women’s 1,500m T20.

Nouioua, 31, has seven Paralympic medals to his name from three previous Games – he won the 1,500m title in 2004, and finished in third place at London 2012. Australia’s Michael Roeger, who has a personal best of 3:50.61 and tops the world rankings this year, could well provide the biggest threat.

Niewiedzial, meanwhile, faces a tough field in the 1,500m T20 – her main challenge could well come from her Polish teammate Arleta Meloch, silver medallist behind Niewiedzial at London 2012 and at last year’s World Championships. Watch out too for Ukraine’s Liudmyla Danylina, third at the 2015 Worlds.

Eight finals take place out in the field, starting with the men’s club throw F51. Serbia’s Zeljko Dimitrijevic has thrown furthest this year – he is the only athlete in the field to go over the 28m mark and, as the reigning Paralympic and world champion, he should be tough to beat. World silver and bronze medallists Amit Kumar Kumar of India and Serbia’s Milos Mitic will be trying hard to top the podium this time around.

The men’s discus F44 features a great dual between the top two in the world, US teammates David Blair and Jeremy Campbell.

A former US state champion, Blair stepped away from track and field for 16 years to focus on his career and his family. Now he is back, and he is breaking records.

The 40-year-old threw a world record 63.61m earlier this year and could well be regarded as the man to beat.

Campbell, meanwhile, has plenty of Paralympic experience under his belt: the 29-year-old finished first at Beijing 2008 and again at London 2012. He has also won the last two World Championships.

Great Britain’s Athens 2004 champion Dan Greaves and Trinidad and Tobago’s Akeem Stewart – winner of the javelin F44 on Friday (9 September) – should not be dismissed either.

Brazil’s reigning world champion Silvania Costa de Oliveira will be hoping she can add to her family’s incredible Paralympic success with victory in the women’s long jump T11.

The 29-year-old was part of Brazil’s silver medal-winning quartet in the women’s 4x100m T11-13 on Wednesday (14 September); her brother Ricardo won the men’s long jump T11 on the opening day of competition as well as relay gold with his Brazilian teammates.