No fewer than 19 gold medals are up for grabs on Saturday (24 October), the third day of competition at the 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships in Doha, Qatar.
One of para-athletics’ global stars leading the charge to the top of the podium is the Netherlands’ Marlou van Rhijn, who goes for gold in the first of two sprint titles she hopes to defend at the city’s Suhaim Bin Hamam stadium.
Van Rhijn competes in the final of the women’s 200m T44, but she will have to watch out for in-form Frenchwoman Marie-Amelie Le Fur who dominated the women’s long jump T44 on the opening day of competition, as well as Germany’s European 200m T44 silver medallist Irmgard Bensusan.
The women’s 200m T35 is also set to provide plenty of excitement with two talented teenagers likely to battle it out for gold. Australia’s 14-year-old Isis Holt set a new world record back in March and will provide stiff competition for Great Britain’s 15-year-old European champion Maria Lyle. Watch out too for Italy’s defending champion Oxana Corso.
In other sprint events, China’s Paralympic and defending world champion Lisha Huang competes in the final of the women’s 100m T53, whilst in the women’s 100m T54 Finland’s Amanda Kotaja will be hoping to add to the gold she won over 200m on Thursday.
Defending champion Walid Ktila of Tunisia is out to defend the first of his four world titles starting with the 400m T34 where he faces the likes of Finland’s European champion Henry Manni, and the world silver and bronze medallists from 2013, Australia’s Rheed McCracken and the UAE’s Mohamed Hammadi.
Switzerland’s defending champion Marcel Hug and Great Britain’s Paralympic champion David Weir go head-to-head in the eagerly awaited 1,500m T54 final – the first time the pair have met in a major track competition since London 2012. Thailand’s top trio Saichon Konjen, Prawat Wahoram and Rawat Tana should not be discounted either.
There is a stellar line up in the women’s 1,500m T54 so expect a nail biting race out on the track. China’s Hongzhuan Zhou was the fastest of Thursday’s qualifiers but the Australian duo Angela Ballard and Madison de Rozario as well as Americans Chelsea McClammer and Susannah Scaroni are all gold medal contenders.
All three medallists from Lyon 2013 line up in the final of the women’s 1,500m T20. Poland’s Barbara Niewiedzial, her compatriot Arleta Meloch and Hungary’s Ilona Biasci won gold, silver and bronze respectively two years ago – can Niewiedzial top the podium once again?
Another track star hoping to top the podium yet again is Ireland’s Jason Smyth. The 28-year-old is aiming to complete a hat trick of 100m world titles having won in 2006 and 2013. Australia’s Chad Perris is amongst those hoping to challenge the Paralympic, world and European champion in the 100m T13. Smyth’s compatriot Michael McKillop is the favourite in the men’s 800m T38.
Out in the field keep an eye on defending champion Mohammad Khalvandi of Iran in the men’s javelin F57.
The three men who climbed on to the podium at Lyon 2013 are back again in the men’s long jump T20 in Doha. Watch out for Ukraine’s Dmytro Prudnikov, Croatia’s Zoran Talic and Portugal’s Lenine Cunha.
Expect a thrilling competition in the women’s club throw F51 as the USA’s world record holder Rachael Morrison faces Great Britain’s European champion Joanna Butterfield who tops the world rankings this year.
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