Action on the field dominates competition on the fifth day (Friday 11 March) of the IPC Athletics Asia-Oceania Championships in Dubai, UAE, as Iran look to cement their place at the top of the medals table.
The men’s javelin throw F55/56 features the likes of Iran’s Mohammad Alvanpour (F56), the 29-year-old who set the current Asian record when he took gold at the Incheon 2014 Asian Para Games.
While Alvanpour makes his Asia-Oceania Championship debut on Friday, his rivals have already taken to the field – including the in-form Vietnamese Be Hau Nguyen, who won the men’s shot put F55/56 on Monday (7 March) with a new Asian record.
Another Iranian hoping to add to his country’s medal tally is Alireza Mokhtari Hemami (F53), who also topped the podium at the Asian Para Games, winning discus and shot put gold.
He lines up in the men’s shot put F53/54 against a tough field which includes his countrymen Abdolreza Jokar (F53), an experienced international with one Paralympic title and three world golds to his name, and F54 Asian record holder Hamed Amiri - out to complete a hat trick of gold medals on Friday, having already won javelin F53/54 and discus F54-56 gold this week.
Another world class para-athlete hoping to add to her medal collection is China’s Liangmin Zhang (F11), who goes in the women’s shot put F11/12 just 24 hours after winning gold in the discus event.
No fewer than four world finalists from the 2015 World Championships line up in the women’s shot put F32-34. Qatar’s double Asian Para Games champion Sara Hamdi Masoud (F33) finished fifth in the World Championships after throwing a personal best 4.54m – just two centimetres shy of the F33 Asian record.
The United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) Noura Alktebi (F32) meanwhile holds the shot put F32 Asian record. Watch out too for her compatriots Aishah Salem Bani Khaled (F33) and Thuraya Alzaabi (F34), as well as Iran’s Maryam Soltani who will be hoping to add to the javelin F34 title she won on Tuesday (8 March).
Out on the track the UAE will have high expectations of their star Mohamed Hammadi, the favourite to clinch a remarkable fourth gold medal out on the track as he takes on the men’s 100m T34.
Hammadi has already won the 200m, 400m and 800m T34 at Dubai 2016 this week and few would bet against him completing the quadruple on Friday, the penultimate day of competition.
The men’s 100m T42 features a thrilling head-to-head between Atsushi Yamamoto of Japan and Sri Lanka’s Anil Prasanna Jayalath Yodha Pedige.
Yamamoto set a new Asian record when he clocked 12.61 at the Worlds last year, and he also has the 100m T42 Asian Para Games title to his name too. He finished second behind Yodha Pedige in the 200m T42 earlier this week and will be hoping to turn the tables over the shorter sprint.
Not if Yodha Pedige can help it though – the 30-year-old 200m T42 Asian Para Games champion looked in terrific form as he helped Sri Lanka take gold in the men’s 4x100m T42-47 relay on Thursday (10 March). His relay teammate Buddika Indrapala, 200m T42 bronze medallist behind Yodha Pedige and Yamamoto, should not be dismissed either.
More than 220 athletes from 24 countries will take part in the first ever IPC Athletics Asia-Oceania Championships, which runs until 12 March.
A livestream is available via the Dubai 2016 website and live results are also available online.