The discus circle was the scene for both of the world records that fell on Thursday (23 March), the fourth and final day of competition at the Dubai Grand Prix in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Latvia’s multiple world and Paralympic champion Aigars Apinis proved too good for his rivals once again as he smashed his own F52 world record to win the men’s discus F51/52.
The 43-year-old, who has been breaking the world record for over a decade, threw 21.91m (1025 points) in his opening round in Dubai, adding 47cm on to the mark he set at the 2015 World Championships.
Mounia Gasmi, 26, rounded off a superb week of track and field for Algeria’s Para athletes as she extended the discus F32 world record mark she set in Tunis two years ago.
Double bronze medallist at Rio 2016, Gasmi threw 11.37m (902 points) in the third round of the competition at the Dubai Club for the Disabled, adding 17cm on to her previous best.
Gasmi’s world record was the fourth set by an Algerian Para athletes in the UAE this week – seven world marks fell in total at the season-opening Grand Prix, setting an impressive standard for the rest of the year, with the London 2017 World Championships taking place in July.
Aishah Ban Khaled (F33) of the UAE finished second in the women’s F32/33 event with 10.72m (691 points) while there was a new European F32 record for Germany’s Hanna Wichmann – she managed 9.12m (653 points) for third place.
Iran’s discus F12 world champion Saman Pakbaz lay down his marker for the defence of his world title this summer as he won the F12/13 throw with a best of 45.04m (944 points).
Azerbaijan’s former European discus F56 champion Olokhan Musayev (40.83m, 940 points) won the discus F55/56, while his teammate Samir Nabiyev (46.67m) won the discus F57 - with just 4cm to spare ahead of Egyptian Metawa Abouelkhir (46.63m).
In the day’s javelin events, the men’s F52/54 went to form as Greek F54 Paralympic champion Manolis Stefanoudakis took the win with 28.76m (1005 points); Latvia’s world silver medallist Dmitrijs Silovs threw 53.35m to take gold in the F37 event.
The men’s shot put F44-46 was won by India’s F46 thrower Sundar Singh Gurjar - his third victory of the Grand Prix - with a third round effort of 13.36m (782 points). Jyoti Karam secured another win for India’s Para athletes as she threw 5.76m in the shot put F55.
Algeria’s Nadia Medjmedj, who set a new discus F56 world record on Wednesday (22 March), finished top of the podium in the shot put F56/57 with 9.74m (1078 points) while her teammate Nassima Saifi set a new F57 African record of 10.80m to finish in second place.
Fatema Nedham made history at Rio 2016 as Bahrain’s first-ever female Paralympic Games medallist when she won the shot put F53 – she followed up by taking the women’s shot put F53/54 with 4.63m (940 points); Great Britain’s Vanessa Wallace threw 7.06m to win the shot put F34.
Great Britain’s world and Paralympic high jump F44 silver medallist Jonathan Broom-Edwards cleared 2.05m in the F13/20/42/44 event.
Germany’s 18-year-old T38 long jumper Lindy Ave leapt 4.55m (844 points) to take the win in the T12/20/38/42/44 event.
There were three races out on the track on day four – first up was the men’s 5,000m T11/12/46 which featured three Kenyan runners. Wesley Sang (16:08.61) crossed the line first, followed by Paralympic 5,000m T13 champion Henry Kirwa (16:09.44) while Erick Sang (16:11.12) finished third.
Swiss star Marcel Hug (11:54.80) got the better of a strong Japanese contingent in the 5,000m T54 event. The 31-year-old finished just 0.08 seconds ahead of Masayuki Higuchi (11:54.88) with Tomoki Suzuki (11:56.02) in third.
Japanese wheelchair racers also took to the track for the men’s 4x400m T53/54 – Suzuki, Higuchi, Hitoshi Matsunaga and Sho Watanabe stopped the clock at 3:20.67.
Full results of the Dubai Grand Prix can be found here.
The 2017 World Para Athletics Grand Prix series now moves on to Tunis, Tunisia from 13-15 April.