Five athletics rivalries for Incheon 2014

Top ranked Asian athletes will go head-to-head at the Asian Para Games between 18-24 October. 17 Oct 2014
A picture of a man in a wheelchair racing on a track

Prawat Wahoram of Thailand competes in the Men's 5000m T54 heat at the IPC Athletics World Championship in Christchurch, New Zeland

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With just over one year to go until the 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships are held in Asia, in Doha, Qatar, athletes from the region are preparing to line-up against each other at the Incheon 2014 Asian Para Games.

Here are five of the closest rivalries to be played out at the Incheon Asiad Main Stadium over what is set to be six days of exciting action.

Men’s 100m T42

Thailand’s Tawatchai Morapat is the current world No.1 in this event and will go head-to-head with Japan’s Atsushi Yamamoto, world No.3.

Despite a disappointing fifth place finish at the 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships in Lyon, France, Yamamoto has emerged as one of the athletes to watch in 2014 with a series of podium-topping performances.

Meanwhile Morapat, the silver medallist from the 2010 Asian Para Games in Guangzhou, China, in 2010, could overtake his reigning champion rival to claim victory this time around.

Just 0.31 seconds seperates the season’s best of the pair.

Men’s 1,500m T54

This race will feature a three-way battle between Japan’s Masayuki Higuchi and Thai teammates Prawat Wahoram and Rawat Tana.

The trio make-up the Asian top three and have a series of Paralympic and World Championship medals between them.

Wahoram is the silver medallist from London 2012 and has a total of five Paralympic titles, Tana the second-placed finisher from Lyon 2013 and a world champion from 2002 whilst Higuchi was the Worlds bronze medallist behind Tana.

Women’s 100m, 200m and 400m T53

Barely a nose separates Chinese teammates Lisha Huang and Hongzhuan Zhou in these three events and Incheon 2014 will add another chapter to the ongoing clash.

After winning 100m gold at London 2012 Huang followed up with a double victory at Lyon 2013, adding the 200m title to her collection.

Not to be outdone, Zhou took the 400m top spot from Huang at Lyon 2013 to follow-up on her own gold from 2012.

Men’s discus F34

Iran’s Jalal Khakzadiyeh, China’s Yangzhang Wang and Iranian Siamak Saleh Farajzadeh make up the Asian top three respectively.

Paralympic champion Wang has lost ground to No.1 Khakzadiyeh in 2014, the silver medallist from Guangzhou 2010. Saleh Farajzadeh, a former World and Paralympic record holder, is a strong third in the rankings following a consistent performance this season.

Women’s 100m T11

Still just 19-years-of age, China’s Yan Chen already has a bronze medal from Guangzhou 2010 under her belt and enters this event as the Asian No.2.

Her main challenger, third ranked Japan’s Chiaki Takada, was absent in Guangzhou so this race will be an interesting one to watch. Especially considering the pair have not yet met on the track this season.

Over 550 athletes from nearly 40 countries will compete in athletics at Incheon 2014, with action beginning on 19 October.