Berlin Grand Prix breaks more records

Brazilian Andre Rocha claims two world records at final Para athletics Grand Prix before London 2017. 19 Jun 2017
wheelchair athlete prepares to throw shot put

Andre Rocha set two new world records at the Berlin Grand Prix.

ⒸRalf Kuckuck-DBS Akademie

There was double delight for Brazilian Andre Rocha at the Berlin Grand Prix in Germany, as the F52 thrower notched up two world records in the field.

Rocha, who missed several months of Para athletics in early 2016 after spinal cord surgery, has already been in record-breaking form this year, setting new marks in the shot put and discus F52 back in April.

The former military police officer, who suffered a spinal cord injury 12 years ago after falling off a wall, added a further 14cm on to his previous shot put best with his opening round throw of 11.60m.

Twenty-four hours later, Rocha added 15cm on to the discus F52 world record he set less than three months ago with his first throw of the day – a massive 23.24m.

Field events dominated the action at the final Grand Prix of the 2017 series, which took place at the city’s Friedrich Ludwig Jahn Sports Park just one month out from the 2017 World Para Athletics Championships.

Paralympic champion and local favourite Sebastian Dietz was just 11cm short of the F36 world record mark in the men’s shot put F36-38 as he took the win with a best of 15.23m.

Home success continued as compatriot Niko Kappel – another of Germany’s Rio 2016 gold medallists - threw 12.99m in the shot put F40/41, over three metres clear of his rivals and Mathias Mester (37.01m) won the javelin F40/41.

Double European champion Helgi Sveinsson continued his run of form, six weeks after setting a new world record in the javelin F42. The Icelander managed 52.99m to take the win, with South Africa’s T38 Paralympic champion Reinhardt Hamman in second place with 49.35m – 86cm shy of his season’s best.

Morocco’s double Paralympic champion Azeddine Nouiri threw 9.91m with his first-round attempt in the men’s shot put F34 – that mark proved enough to seal victory. The 30-year-old also won the men’s javelin F34 competition with a best of 27.20m.

The wheelchair discus event was won by Croatian F57 thrower Miroslav Petkovic (41.65m). Ivan Katanusic (F44) notched up further wins for Croatia with his 15.61m effort in the men’s shot put F11/12/42-47; he also came out on top in the discus event, throwing 54.33m.

The Czech Republic also enjoyed success in Berlin – Paralympic bronze medallist Eva Berna (F37) won the women’s shot put event with 11.06m as well as the discus competition, which she won with 27.62m. Her teammate Martin Zach (F51) (27.95m) won the men’s club throw; the women’s club throw went to form as the USA’s current world record holder Rachael Morrison (21.64m) finished in first place.

In the long jump competitions, South Africa’s Paralympic champion Hilton Langenhoven (T12) managed a best of 6.85m – 22cm shy of his winning jump at Rio 2016. The 33-year-old had been targeting the seven-metre mark in Berlin; he will be hoping that distance comes at next month’s World Para Athletics Championships. The USA’s T11 jumper Lex Gillette finished second with a best of 6.17m.

Singapore’s Suhairi Suhani (T20) took the win in the long jump T20/37/38 with 6.45m, while in the women’s long jump competition, Iceland’s Stefania Dan Gudmundsdottir (T20) leapt 4.74m; Italy’s T42 Paralympic silver medallist Martina Caironi was second with 4.51m.

Poland’s reigning world and Paralympic high jump T44 champion Maciej Lepiato lay down his marker ahead of the defence of his world title as he won with a 2.15m clearance. The 28-year-old had attempted to clear 2.20m – one centimetre higher than his current world record – but failed to set a new mark.

Out on the track in the 200m races, there were wins for the Netherlands’ Jelmar Bos (T37) (25.62); his T54 teammate Rens van de Waterlaat (29.75); Belgium’s T47 sprinter Remi Mazi (25.59) in the T43-47; South African Sheldon Thomas (T13) (23.34) and Turkey’s Hakan Cira (T12) (23.77).

Cira (52.67) was also fastest over 400m, while van de Waterlaat (57.70) won the wheelchair race over one lap.

In Saturday’s 100m races, there were also wins for van de Waterlaat (16.51); Sheldon Thomas (12.03) and Bos (12.82).

In the women’s track races, there were wins for Ireland’s T13 sprinter Orla Comerford (13.17) over 100m; the Netherlands’ T47 Para athlete Noelle Roorda (30.28) over 200m and Italy’s T43 Para athlete Federica Maspero (1:07.00) in the 400m.

Full results can be found online