Familiar names excel at Xalapa Grand Prix

Tokyo 2020 stars and home favourites Chessani Garcia and Guadarrama join Cuban icon Durand to steal the show as fourth Grand Prix of the year concludes 01 May 2023
Cuba's Omara Durand, who won two golds at the Dubai Grand Prix, returned in style to finish on top in 200m and 400m T12 races.
Cuba's Omara Durand, who won two golds at the Dubai Grand Prix, returned in style to finish on top in 200m and 400m T12 races.
ⒸLima 2019
By Ryan Hills I For World Para Athletics

The curtain closes on the Xalapa leg of the 2023 World Para Athletics Grand Prix, where the good and great of the track created a memorable trio of days.

Xalapa, the fourth stop on the calendar, had four sessions full of unmissable Para athletics action, mixing new home stars with familiar names who performed at their absolute best. 

When it comes to the former, there were major successes for the likes of Omara Durand and Jaleen Roberts. And Mexican greats including Jose Rodolfo Chessani Garcia and Gloria Zarza Guadarrama were on top form to collect the top prizes. 

Tokyo 2020 stars at their best

In a field of more than 500 athletes, there were star names sprinkled throughout who were once again at their best. Omara Durand, who won two golds at the Dubai Grand Prix, returned and did what she does best: winning medals.

The Cuban T12 icon recorded a timing of 23.90 for 200m success, whilst starring in a successful 400m performance too. Whether we see her at any more events prior to the World Championships is unknown, but if this is her last major outing before then, she would be heading into it operating at 100%.

Elsewhere, the small United States team brought their A-game to take home a cool tally. With household names including Jaleen Roberts taking to the track, they always threatened to succeed throughout – and they did. 

Roberts, the two-time Paralympic silver medallist, was victorious in the T37 100m with a time of 13.77, collecting gold in the long jump as well.

Hosts impresses

When you have got athletes like Jose Rodolfo Chessani Garcia in your setup, you know you are going to be on to a good thing. The T38 athlete had big expectations heading into Xalapa, and didn’t disappoint in his trademark 400m event. 

The Tokyo 2020 gold medallist finished with 51.44 to win the gold, whilst in the T13 equivalent, London 2012 medallist Jorge Benjamin Gonzalez Sauceda left with the gold.

Tokyo 2020 silver medallist Gloria Zarza Guadarrama had few troubles adding another medal to her collection, winning gold in the shot put with 7.76m. And there was a heroic performance from the iconic figure of Maria de Los Angeles Ortiz Hernandez. One of the true greats of Mexican sport, the 2012 and 2016 Paralympic champion threw 10.44 for shot put gold in the F57. 

And in a team that made up over half of the field, Mexico was always destined to be at the very top of the medals table. They concluded their home event with a whopping 244 medals, 74 of which were golden. Colombia, Argentina, Ecuador, and Cuba completed the top five.

What's next?

Two stops on the Grand Prix remain, and it’s going to be Europe that host the finale. Jesolo, Italy is just over one week away. And it will be swiftly followed at the end of May by Nottwil. But the athletes won’t be resting for long.

This July, the Para Athletics World Championships will be held for the first time in four years! The very best on the planet will head to Paris for 10 days of exhilarating competition, putting in the hard work at international level ahead of another pretty big event in Paris next year: the 2024 Paralympic Games.