Great Britain’s reigning world champion Aled Davies kicked off his season in superb style with a new outdoor shot put world record* on the first day of competition at the IPC Athletics Grand Prix in Arizona, USA, on Friday 13 May.
The 24-year-old improved on his own F42 world record mark with his fourth round effort of 16.13m in the men’s shot put F35/36/37/42.
“The event went well, I came to Arizona for warm weather training and the competition fitted nicely at the end,” said Davies.
“It was my first outdoor meet of the year so it was nice to pb even though I was shaking out the cobwebs.
“I’m excited to build on that performance and see what I can produce this year. I don’t compete much as I’m injury prone – the plan is to get to Rio in one piece.”
The USA’s Scott Winkler, world bronze medallist in 2013, was the best of the F55 discus throwers with his fourth round effort of 28.25m, while fellow American Johnnie Williams III threw 35.90m in the F56 class.
Experienced Para athlete Angela Madsen (F56) took the win in the women’s discus throw F56/57 with her fifth round effort of 20.03m, as Denmark’s Frida Jersoe (F55) finished top of the F33/51/52/54/55 throwers with 16.07m.
The USA’s discus world champion (F51) Rachael Morrison threw an impressive 12.82m with her third round effort, just four centimetres shy of the world record mark she set on her way to global gold last year.
The 28-year-old lost out to her teammate and rival Cassie Mitchell in the club throw however, only registering one throw (14.94m) as Mitchell took the win with 20.10m to go top of the world rankings.
Canada’s Jennifer Brown (F38), fourth in the World Championships last year, also looked in form as she threw 29.88m in the discus F11/37/38/40 to go second in the world this year.
Madsen added another win later in the day, throwing 8.04m to top the podium in the shot put F55/56/57.
There was no surprise as reigning world champion Lex Gillette (T11) leapt to victory in the men’s long jump T11/12 with a best of 6.45m.
Other action in the field included wins for the USA’s Jorge Tarazon (F11) in the men’s shot put F11/12/20/40 with 9.82m, while world bronze medallist Jeff Skiba (T44) cleared 1.90m to win the men’s high jump T42/43/44/45.
There were a number of 200m races out on the Sun Angel Stadium track on the first of two days of competition.
US sprinter and world record holder David Brown (23.08) won the 200m T11, while Great Britain’s Dave Henson (24.71) lay down his marker for the season with a standout win in the 200m T42.
The 31-year-old got the better of a strong field including Denmark’s world bronze medallist Daniel Jorgensen (25.73) and Paralympic silver medallist Shaquille Vance (25.91), and now sits at the top of the 2016 world rankings – his time just 0.61 seconds shy of Richard Whitehead’s world record set in Doha, Qatar last year.
The men’s 200m T43/44 was won by the USA’s T43 sprinter Nicholas Rogers (22.14) with Japan’s Keita Sato (24.03) taking second place. Mexico’s Jorge Gonzalez (22.80) tops the world rankings after his win in the 200m T12. The USA’s Ayden Jent (28.43) dominated the 200m T35.
World silver medallist Cheri Madsen enjoyed two wins out of two out on the track, starting with the women’s 200m T54, where she got the better of her track rival Hannah McFadden with a 29.72 win. The 39-year-old followed up later in the day with victory over 800m (1:53.86) as McFadden had to settle for second once more.
In other 200m events Canada’s Paralympic champion Michelle Stilwell (T52) managed 35.30 whilst the first of the T53 competitors over the line was 19-year-old American Yen Hoang (33.70). Breanna Clark (T20) clocked 25.60, with world silver medallist Kym Crosby (T13), currently second behind South Africa’s Ilse Hayes in the world rankings, crossing the line in 25.84.
Mexico’s Diana Coraza (27.43) won the 200m T11/12, and Canada’s Paralympic bronze medallist Virginia McLachlan (34.85) won the 200m T35/36.
Ghana’s Maclean Dzidzienyo (28.64) won the men’s 200m T53 while his compatriot Botsyo Nkegbe (27.38) led the way in the 200m T54. There was a win too for Trinidad and Tobago’s Nyoshia Cain (27.69) in the women’s 200m T43/44.
In the men’s 800m T52/53 Mexico’s Fidel Aguilar (1:53.64) took the tape, while T52 multiple world champion Ray Martin (1:53.78) finished just behind to take second place.
Colombia’s Javier Rojas Diaz (1:37.76) got the better of a field including Americans Mark Braun (1:41.25) and Eric Hightower (1:41.88) in the men’s 800m T54, while Troy Pruitt (1:44.65) saw off Canada’s Austin Smeenk (1:45.72) to win the 800m T34 and go top of the current world rankings.
In the women’s 800m T34/52/53 last year’s winner Shirley Reilly (T53) triumphed once again, crossing the line in 2:01.90, as 15-year-old Alexa Halko (T34) finished in second place in 2:04.20. Bermuda’s Jessica Lewis, who won 100m bronze at the 2015 World Championships, finished third (2:06.08).
In the day’s distance races, Mexico’s T11 para-athlete Alejandro Pacheco (16:49.55) took the 5,000m T11/12/13, while his countryman Fidel Aguilar clocked 12:26.54 in the men’s 5,000m T53/54 and the USA’s Aerelle Jones managed 18:21.09 in the women’s 5,000m T53/54.
Competition at the IPC Athletics Grand Prix in Arizona, USA, concludes on Saturday 14th May.
*Davies’ mark is an unofficial world record until verified by IPC Athletics