More than 125 para-athletics world records were broken in 2015 – many of them multiple times. At the IPC Athletics World Championships in Doha, Qatar, there were 54 new world records alone.
Now, with Rio 2016 on the horizon, athletes will be getting fitter, faster and stronger as they build up to the pinnacle of years of hard work and dedication at the Paralympic Games.
Here is a look at just some of the world records that could fall this year – 16 world records for 2016.
1. Men’s 100m T44 – 10.61
The world record fell twice during 2015, first by Jarryd Wallace on his way to Parapan Am gold as he knocked 0.04 seconds off Richard Browne’s mark from 2013. Browne quickly replied however, storming to gold at the World Championships in Qatar in a formidable 10.61. Browne believes he’s capable of hitting the 10.5 mark; when he races against the likes of Paralympic champion Jonnie Peacock as well as Wallace this year – a line-up that never materialised in 2015 – the record is surely under threat.
2. Men’s 100m T46/47 – 10.72
Last year Poland’s Michal Derus came tantalising close to breaking the long-standing mark of 10.72 set back in 1992, clocking 10.73 to take global gold in Qatar. He actually equalled 10.72 earlier in the year at a non-IPC ratified event; 2016 could see that record fall as Brazil’s star sprinters Petrucio Ferreira and Yohannson Nascimento also chase faster times.
3. Men’s 400m T11 – 49.82
When the Brazilian duo of Daniel Silva and Felipe Gomes line up on home soil at this year’s Paralympic Games , Silva’s world record - which has stood since 2011 - will surely be under threat. The pair battled for gold at the 2015 World Championships, with their guides visibly struggling to keep up. A home crowd could provide all the encouragement they need.
4. Men’s 1,500m T54 - 2:54.51
Tactics can play a vital part in middle distance racing, but speed and power are paramount too. Thailand’s newly crowned world champion has both, and he proved as much in Arbon last year when he won the 1,500m in 2:54.72 – just outside Marcel Hug’s world record set in 2010. As competition for medals gets more and more fierce, the 1,500m record could go.
5. Men’s Long jump T44 – 8.40m
Since winning Paralympic gold in 2012 with a world record 7.35m, Markus Rehm has rewritten the history books in emphatic style. He broke the mark twice last year – leaping 8.29m in May, then 8.40m for world gold in October. There may only be one real contender for this record, but the world, European and Paralympic champion just doesn’t look like stopping.
6. Men’s Long jump T36 – 5.81m
Evgenii Torsunov jumped in to the record books in Germany last year, breaking the world record no fewer than three times on his way to a 5.66m win at his first ever Grand Prix. He then leapt 5.81m in Russia in September before taking gold in his debut World Championships with 5.75m. Expect more this year.
7. Women’s 100m T35 – 13.63
At Doha 2015, Isis Holt was only 14-years-old when she stormed to gold. She saw off stiff competition from another teenager, 15-year-old Maria Lyle. The pair have a terrific future ahead of them and a youthful rivalry that can only serve to get the best out of one another.
8. Women’s 100m T37 – 13.59
Great Britain’s Kadeena Cox burst into the spotlight on her international debut at Doha 2015 breaking 2013 world champion Mandy Francois-Elie’s world record mark in the heats. She ran just 0.01 seconds slower in the final. Cox only turned to para-athletics in 2014 after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis; she has a lot more to come.
9. Women’s 100m T44 – 12.98
US sprinter April Holmes set the current world record back in 2006 but Frenchwoman Marie-Amelie Le Fur is closing in on the mark. Last year Le Fur’s best was 13.12; Irmgard Bensusan wasn’t far behind. A terrific 2015 World Championships saw Le Fur break the 400m and long jump T44 world records; the 100m mark is sure to follow.
10. Women’ s 100m T12 – 11.48
When Cuban sprint sensation Omara Durand returned to the track last year after the birth of her daughter, she made her presence known. Durand clocked the fastest 100m time ever by a female para-athlete at the Parapan Am Games in Canada, then knocked a further 0.17 off to take world gold in Qatar. And she made it look effortless.
11. Women’s 200m T38 – 26.61
The 200m T38 is fast becoming one of the most competitive events in para-athletics. With the likes of Margarita Goncharova, Sophie Hahn, Chen Junfei and Veronica Hipolito all in the mix for the Paralympic title this year, Goncharova’s mark set in Doha, Qatar could well be surpassed.
12. Women’s 200m T43 – 25.64
Dutch sprinter Marlou van Rhijn lowered her own world record three times in 2015 and as she lines up against the likes of in-form Marie-Amelie Le Fur and Irmgard Bensusan – who, as T44 sprinters, both have faster starts, she will be pushed on ever harder.
13. Women’s 400m T11 - 56.14
The record held by Terezhina Guilhermina since 2007 could well be under threat this year with the emergence of a new global track star, Lui Cuiqing. The Chinese sprinter claimed a hat trick of individual titles in Doha, coming within 0.54 seconds of the 400m world record – and 0.08 seconds shy of the 200m mark too.
14. Women’s 800m T34 – 2:02.94
A new addition to the Paralympic schedule for 2016, the likes of Hannah Cockroft have been working hard to improve their performances over two laps. Cockroft suffered a rare defeat over 400m last summer; the prospect of lining up against an improving cast of rivals could see the record go.
15. Women’s long jump T42 – 4.79m
If 2015 is anything to go by, this event in 2016 is sure to be full of excitement. Newly crowned world champion Vanessa Low and 2013 world champion Martina Caironi just keep on improving, and the battle for Paralympic gold is sure to inspire both athletes to new lengths.
16. Women’s shot put F37 – 13.56m
China’s Mi Na has a habit of breaking records at major events – she broke the world record at the last two Paralympic Games and again at the World Championships last year. Her rivalry with Franziska Liebhardt, who threw an impressive 13.39m for world silver – should inspire big performances in 2016.
Tickets for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games can be bought here by people living in Brazil and here for people living outside of Brazil.