Blair smashes discus F44 world record in USA

The US athlete threw 63.61m at the IPC Athletics Grand Prix in Arizona. 15 May 2016
The USA's David Blair in action during the men's discus F44 final at the 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships  in Doha, Qatar.

The USA's David Blair in action during the men's discus F44 final at the 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships in Doha, Qatar.

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The USA’s world silver medallist David Blair smashed the discus F44 world record at the IPC Athletics Grand Prix in Arizona on Saturday 14 May, the second and final day of competition in the USA.

Blair threw a phenomenal 63.61m as he got the better of the reigning Paralympic and world champion Jeremy Campbell (57.53m) out in the field at the Sun Angel Stadium, adding 15 centimetres on to the mark Campbell set in the USA four years ago.

The 40-year-old finished second behind Campbell at the IPC Athletics World Championships in Doha, Qatar, last year with what was then a personal best of 60.46m and now looks set to challenge for the top spot at Rio 2016 in four months’ time.

Another American showing great form already this season is Parapan Am champion Jarryd Wallace. The 25-year-old sprinter took the win in the men’s 100m T44 in 10.78, as his compatriot Trenten Merrill finished in second place (11.78).

World champion David Brown continued his winning ways out on the track, clocking 11.04 in the men’s 100m T11 to add to his victory over 200m on Friday.

US sprinter Kym Crosby (T13) secured her hat-trick of wins in Arizona, clocking 12.52 in the women’s 100m T11/12/13 before following that up later in the day with 59.70 to win the 400m T11/12/13.

Ghana’s Maclean Dzidzienyo also made it a Grand Prix sprint treble with wins in the men’s 100m T53 (16.26) and 400m T53 (54.78) on day two.

Talented US teenager Alexa Halko (T34) took the tape in the 100m and 400m. The 15-year-old won the 100m T33/34/51/52 in 18.63, and then clocked 1:04.03 to win over one lap.

Canada’s Virginia McLachlan (T35) added to her 200m win on Friday with victory in the 100m T35/36, clocking 16.66, as did Trinidad and Tobago’s Nyoshia Cain (T44, 13.15) in the women’s T42/43/44.

There were 100m wins for other international athletes too:

Colombians Erwin Castillo (12.06) in the men’s T12 and Juan Moreno Marques (12.95) in the men’s T35/36; Denmark’s Daniel Jorgensen (12.65) in the men’s 100m T42 and Kasper Filsoe (11.86) in the men’s T435/46/47; Canada’s Kyle Whitehouse (11.83) in the men’s 100m T37/38 and Bermuda’s world bronze medallist Jessica Lewis (17.75) in the women’s 100m T53.

The USA’s Gianfranco Iannotta got the better of Paralympic and world champion Ray Martin in the men’s 100m T51/52 clocking 16.80, with Martin second in 16.89, while world bronze medallist Hannah McFadden (17.25) saw off her rival Cheri Madsen to take the win in the women’s 100m T54. Roles were reversed later in the day as Madsen won the 400m T54 (55.32).

Other US athletes to top the podium included: Markeith Price (11.34) in the men’s T13; Austin Smeenk (16.55) in the T33/34; Erik Hightower (14.20) in the men’s T54; Amanda Malawski (17.26) in the T37/38 and Katie Walker (14.03) in the women’s T45/46/47.

In the day’s 400m events Mexico’s Jorge Gonzalez (50.39) won the men’s T11/12, his teammate Elmer Hernandez (54.99) won the men’s T45/46/47; Colombia’s Juan Moreno Marquez (1:01.88) won the men’s T35/36/37/38, and fellow Colombian Javier Rojas Diaz (48.52) won the men’s T54.

The USA’s Tysheem Griffin (51.09) came out on top in the men’s 400m T13/20, fellow American Robert Brown (58.59) won the men’s 400m T43/44, and Breanna Clark (1:03.35) won the women’s 400m T20/35/36/37.

There were also a number of middle distance races on day two. Martin made up for his defeat over 100m with a win in the men’s 1,500m T51/52, clocking 3:53.94. The 22-year-old also turned the tables on Iannotta in the 400m, taking the win in 57.88.

Hannah McFadden saw off Shirley Reilly to take the tape in the women’s 1,500m T53/54 in 3:53.69; Reilly responded later in the day with a win in the 400m T53, clocking 59.63.

There were 1,500m wins too for the USA’s T20 racer Michael Brannigan (4:01.45), Mexico’s T12 para-athlete Daniela Velasco (4:53.54) and her compatriot Fidel Aguilar, who won the men’s T53/54 (3:40.37).

Out in the field, Scott Winkler added to his discus win on Friday with victory in the shot put F54/55, throwing 10.14m, while his compatriot Michael Wishnia won the T56/57 throw with a best of 13.61m.

In the women’s long jump T20/37/38/42 Germany’s world champion Vanessa Low opened her season with three jumps over the 4.60m mark including a winning leap of 4.65m, 14 centimetres shy of the world record mark she set on the way to winning global gold last year.

Low later Tweeted that her prosthetic running legs had been stolen at the event and appealed for their return.

Jorgensen, winner over 100m earlier in the day, secured victory in the men’s long jump T42 with a leap of 6.48m – just five centimetres less than his world record mark set in Grosseto, Italy, last year. The win takes Jorgensen, who won world silver last year, to the top of the 2016 rankings – ahead of Japan’s world champion Atsushi Yamamoto.

Japan’s Hajimu Ashida meanwhile topped the podium in the men’s long jump T43/44/45/46 with a jump of 6.48m.

There were wins too for the USA’s Heather Erickson (F44) in the women’s shot put F11/12/20/35/ambulant event with 7.98m, Christina Gardner (F57) in the women’s javelin F33/34/53/54 with 17.99m, and Canada’s Renee Foessel (F38) in the women’s F12/13/37/38 with 24.39m.

Full results can be found here.

The 2016 IPC Athletics Grand Prix series now heads to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on 18 May.