Catherine Debrunner arrived at the Nottwil 2022 Grand Prix as the European, world, and Paralympic champion in the 400m T53. Then she took it to a whole other level in her home track during the three-day event which ended on Saturday (28 May).
The Swiss sprinter not only won the women’s 100m, 200m, 400m, and 800m T53, but also set new world records* in all four races in front of her fans.
“It will take me a while to realise I broke four world records in a row, it’s so crazy. I’m extremely happy. My whole family is here, my friends. I’m incredibly happy to share this moment with them”, said Debrunner, celebrating with her nephew.
Athletes from 46 countries were in action at the GP but most highlights came from local stars.
On day one, Debrunner competed in the 200m and in the 800m races, dominating both. In the 200m, she finished in 27.47, beating the former world record holder Samantha Kinghorn, who came second in 28.18. Kinghorn’s time would also have been a new world record in the category. Back in 2017, at the World Championships in London, she had finished the race in 28.61.
Later in the day, Debrunner beat the former record holder to take gold in the 800m. The Swiss finished the race in 1:44.85, leaving Australia’s Madison de Rozario behind. De Rozario’s record was at 1:45.53.
Her third world record came on day two when Debrunner finished the 400m T53 in 52.21, smashing the 52.32 that USA’s Chelsea McClammer set five years ago.
Day three on Saturday saw the Swiss wheelchair racer triumph in the 100m in 15.70s. The previous record (16.19) belonged to China’s Lisha Huang from the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
Hug does it again
Switzerland’s Paralympic legend and Laureus Awards winner Marcel Hug also delighted the home fans with world record-breaking performances.
The six-time Paralympic champion first won the 1.500m T53 in a staggering 02:47.82* – nearly two seconds faster than his previous record (02:49.55) set at the Tokyo Paralympics last year.
“It’s crazy, I don’t know what to say. I was definitely feeling great today and I thought I just wanted to try. The conditions were very good. Well, I tried and it’s incredible”, said the Swiss after the race.
There was a world record* also on field events as Germany’s Niko Kappel set a new mark in the men’s shot put F41. The Rio 2016 Paralympic champion won the event with a 14.99m-throw – 68cm ahead of the previous record from Uzbekistan’s Bobirjon Omonov.
“It was a nice competition for me. I had a good feeling, my body was feeling great, and I thought I could have a good day here in Nottwil. From one attempt to the next, I got a little bit better until I got the record in the last one. It was perfect”, celebrated Kappel.
Complete results from Nottwil 2022 can be found here.
The French capital Paris will host the next stop of the 2022 World Para Athletics Grand Prix season from 9 to 10 June at the Charlety Stadium.
*World records subject to ratification by World Para Athletics.