Dubai 2016: Day one previewHome favourite and multiple world championship medallist Mohamed Hammadi eyes gold in the 200m T34. 07 Mar 2016
Eleven gold medals are up for grabs on the first day of competition (Monday 7 March) at the 2016 IPC Athletics Asia-Oceania Championships in Dubai, UAE, which takes place at the city’s Police Officer’s Club venue.
Local athlete and multiple world championship medallist Mohamed Hammadi opens his campaign with the 200m T34 – the first of four events for the UAE wheelchair racer over the six days of competition in the Middle East.
Hammadi won 200m T34 silver at last year’s IPC Athletics World Championships in neighbouring Qatar, beaten to the line by Tunisia’s star para-athlete Walid Ktila.
The UAE man holds the Asian record of 27.52 set at the Nottwil Grand Prix in Switzerland last May, and he will be hard to beat on home soil this time around.
Kuwait’s Ahmad Almutairi is amongst those hoping to get the better of Hammadi; he also impressed last year, breaking the T33 world record in Switzerland.
The men’s 200m T42 features the likes of Japan’s world long jump champion Atsushi Yamamoto and Sri Lanka’s Asian Para Games gold medallist Anil Prasanna Jayalath Yodha Pedige, who holds the Asian record after clocking 25.87 to finish fifth at the World Championships.
The men’s 1,500m T20 is the day’s last event out on the track, with six contenders vying for gold, including three World Championship finalists from Japan –Yuya Kimura, Daisuke Nakagawa and their compatriot Yusuke Yamanouchi.
Six field events also take place in the first session, with the men’s long jump T20 featuring the reigning world champion Abdul Latif Romly of Malaysia.
Romly, 18, leapt an Asian record of 7.35m to take gold in Doha last October, adding to the Asian Para Games gold he won in Incheon, South Korea the year before.
Competition in Dubai will be fierce as four other World Championship finalists also line up – including Saudi Arabia’s Asaad Sharaheli, who finished sixth in Qatar; Japan’s Mitsuo Yamaguchi, Macao’s Hio Sam Tong and Qatar’s Abdullah Mohamed Abdulraheem - watch out too for the New Zealander Ethan Rangi.
Saudia Arabia’s Paralympic silver medallist Hani Alnakhli is undoubtedly a key contender in the men’s discus F33/34. The F33 world record holder turns 30 next week and will be hoping for an early birthday celebration in Dubai.
The UAE’s Abdullah Hayayei (F34), who finished fifth at the World Championships, and his compatriots Ahmed Alhousani and Hassan Ali Obaid Malaleih are amongst those also lining up.
Two Paralympic medallists from the London Games in 2012 take to the field for the men’s javelin F40/41. The Iraqi duo of Ahmed Naas and Wildan Nukhailawi picked up Paralympic silver and bronze respectively four years ago; the question is, who will come out on top this time around?
Iran’s Hashemiyeh Motaghian Moavi holds the Asian record in the javelin F56 – the 29-year-old heads up the field in the women’s javelin throw F55/56.
More than 220 athletes from 24 countries will take part in the first ever IPC Athletics Asia-Oceania Championships which takes place until 12 March.