US wheelchair Para athlete Cassie Mitchell broke a 28-year-old world record on Saturday (13 May), the second and final day of competition at the Arizona Grand Prix in the USA.
Mitchell, who competes in the T51 class, clocked 6:25.19 in the 1,500m T33/34/51, knocking a remarkable 1:34.61 off the previous mark which had stood since 1989.
A discus silver and club throw bronze medallist at Rio 2016, Mitchell has been competing in elite-level Para sport for a number of years - in 2011 she also won a Para-cycling world title.
The 35-year-old, who suffered Devic’s disease as a teenager which resulted in her paralysis, also holds the T51 world records in the 100m, 200m, 400m and shot put – she broke the 100m and 400m marks in 2016. Around the same time, she was diagnosed with leukaemia.
Other US Paralympians also made their mark at the Arizona meeting – the fifth World Para Athletics Grand Prix of the 2017 season.
Former world record holder Jarryd Wallace notched up his third consecutive 100m T43/44 win in Arizona, this time clocking 11.31 seconds to take the win ahead of Japan’s Keita Sato (12.14).
Visually impaired sprinter David Brown (11.31), who like Wallace won over 200m a day earlier, also secured his second win of the Grand Prix with victory in the men’s 100m T11.
The reigning Paralympic and world champion was the only sub-12 second athlete with Lex Gillette (12.00) in second place.
Double Paralympic champion Deja Young was also in winning form, clocking 12.65 seconds in the women’s 100m T45/46/47, while Denmark’s Paralympic silver medallist Daniel Wagner won the men’s 100m T42 in 12.82 seconds.
In the men’s 100m T52 Paralympic champion Gianfranco Iannotta (17.28) saw off rival Ray Martin (17.52) once again – the pair won gold and silver respectively at Rio 2016.
Martin was pushed in to second place in the men’s 400m and 1,500m T52 too.
The 23-year-old, who won double gold at Rio 2016, lost out to Japan’s double Paralympic silver medallist Tomoki Sato in both events.
Sato won a highly competitive 1,500m race in 3:40.48, while over one lap he clocked 56.35 seconds, with Martin 0.22 seconds behind.
In fact, many Para athletes achieved multiple wins on the Joe Selleh track.
Great Britain’s Samantha Kinghorn, who smashed the 200m T53 a day earlier, won the 100m T53 in 16.63 and the 400m T53 in 55.32. The 21-year-old also secured an impressive fourth win in Arizona, taking the tape in the women’s 1,500m T53/54 in 3:35.53.
Paralympic 100m T34 bronze medallist Alexa Halko won the 100m T32/33/34/51 in 19.14 as well as the 400m event in 1:00.91.
Multiple Paralympic medallist Cheri Madsen, who won the 200m T54 on Friday (12 May), won her 100m race in 16.80, and the 400m T54 in 54.57.
Canada’s Austin Smeenk made it four out of four, winning the 100m T33/34/51 in 15.94 while over one lap he clocked 52.20 – he won his 200m and 800m races a day earlier.
Jaleen Roberts (13.74) finished top of the T37 class in both the 100m (13.74) and 400m (1:11.16); US teammate Kym Crosby (T13) (12.45) won the 100m T11/12/13; Zachery Marshall (12.80) won the 100m T35/36; Canadian Kyle Whitehouse (12.29) won the 100m T38 and Japan’s Tomoki Tagawa (11.47) won the 100m T45/46/47.
Cassie Mitchell added to her track success with a win in the field too. Her opening effort of 12.85m in the women’s discus F51 proved enough to seal the win ahead of US rival Rachael Morrison (12.10m).
Daniel Wagner also added to his 100m win as he came out on top in men’s long jump T42 – an event that saw the world record smashed five times last year.
Wagner, who won the European title eleven months ago with what was then a world record 6.70m leap, won in Arizona with 6.10m. Japan’s reigning world champion Atsushi Yamamoto was second with 5.94m.
US jumper Daniel Rizzieri leapt 5.84m in the T43 class – just 15cm off the world record mark he set last year.
The women’s long jump T44 was won by Japan’s Saki Takakuwa (4.83m) while Amy Watt (4.83m) won the long jump T47.
Only 34 cm separated the top two in the men’s discus F44 but it was US Paralympic champion and world record holder David Blair who came out on top once again with a best of 61.91m. World champion Jeremy Campbell was second with 61.57m.
Full results of the Arizona Grand Prix can be found here.