Germany’s newcomer Streng edges towards European medal

Felix Streng misses out on 200m T44 victory by just 0.03 seconds and flying Fin Tahti seals a double victory over German rival Marc Schuh in the men's wheelchair races. 23 Jun 2014 By IPC

“I’ve been struggling with an injury all season so the endurance wasn’t that high, so to come through and beat Felix I’m definitely happy with that.”

Germany’s Felix Streng underlined his status as a medal contender in the men’s T44 sprint events at August’s European Championships on Sunday (22 June), narrowly missing out on 200m victory at the IPC Athletics Grand Prix in Berlin, Germany to South African Arnu Fourie.

Whilst Fourie (22.98 seconds) held the lead on the bend, Streng (23.01) punctured the -1.7m headwind in the last 50m to cross the line just 0.03 seconds behind the London 2012 bronze medallist.

The performance is the latest in a long line of impressive results from the 19-year-old, including a win against American world record holder Jarryd Wallace in May.

Streng, the holder of the 100m and 200m world junior titles, is aiming to make the German team heading to the 2014 IPC Athletics European Championships in Swansea, Great Britain.

“I’m looking forward to it. I’m hopefully going to make a few good races there,” Streng said.

Fourie meanwhile was pleased with the victory and also gave credit to his rising competitor: “I’ve been struggling with an injury all season so the endurance wasn’t that high, so to come through and beat Felix I’m definitely happy with that.”

Brazil’s Renato Nunes Da Cruz (26.53) finished third.

In an equally close men’s wheelchair race, flying Fin Leo Pekka Tahti (26.10) secured a double victory over German rival Marc Schuh (26.14) and teammate Esa-Pekka Mattila (28.38) with a win in the men’s 200m T54 to go alongside his 100m gold from Saturday.

Dutch racer Kenny van Weeghel was missing from Berlin this weekend and rival Schuh described him as ‘untouchable’ going into Swansea 2014. Tahti, who turned 31 today, was more optimistic: “It is going to be very difficult, but still two months left before that.”

Germany’s Irmgard Bensusan (27.39) made light work of the women’s 200m T43/44, eating up the track as she did on Saturday against Dutch world champion Marlou van Rhijn in the 100m. Bensusan just missed out on the line to van Rhijn, but today crossed the finish line ahead of Great Britain’s hopeful Laura Sugar (28.90).

In an interesting tussle in the men’s 200m T11/12, Brazil’s 28-year-old Paralympic champion Felipe Gomez (23.22) beat reigning world champion teammate Lucas Prado (23.42) to the line to add to the long list of accolades for the team this weekend. Turkey’s Mehmet Tunc (25.35) completed the podium.

Terezinha Guilhermina (25.09) completed the double victory for the Brazilians in the women’s 200m T11 after winning the 100m yesterday (21 June). Guilhermina is set to become of the faces of Rio 2016, and after leading compatriots Jhulia Santos (26.96) and Jerusa Geb Santos (27.05) onto the podium, is also building to the 2015 World Championships in Doha, Qatar.

Equally as impressive is Veronica Hipolito. At just 18-years-old, Hipolito (28.22) has already picked up a World Championships title and won for the third time in Berlin in the women’s 200m T36-38. Two Germans - Maria Seifert (30.13) and Claud Nicoleetzik (30.51) - completed the top three.

The 2014 IPC Athletics Grand Prix featured around 570 athletes from 34 countries and were the last major international athletics meet ahead of Swansea 2014 which take place from 18-23 August.

Full results from 20-22 June can be found at the Grand Prix website.

High quality pictures can be downloaded at the IPC's Flickr page.