The city of Monterrey cemented its place in the Para athletics history books after hosting the World Para Athletics Grand Prix for the first time ever in Mexico from 21-24 July.
The sixth stop on this year’s events calendar welcomed nearly 400 athletes from all over the world in spectacular fashion. The Monterrey 2022 Grand Prix produced thrilling events in the track and field competitions and impeccable individual performances.
Americas record* in front of home crowd
Mexico’s Mario Santana Ramos relished the opportunity to compete in front of his home crowd at Monterrey 2022 but left all in attendance at the Pista de Atletismo Centro De Alto Rendimiento Ninos Heroes stunned as he set a new Americas record* in the men’s club throw F51 final.
Always chasing the bigger throw, Ramos won gold at the Grand Prix debut in Mexico, breaking his own continental record with a mark of 33.62m. He set the previous record of 31.54m only a month prior at the GP in Paris.
It was a dream come true for Ramos, who finished fourth in the event at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
“I’m very happy with this result. There was an extra motivation to do it at home, since it’s the first time in history that an event of this level is staged in Mexico,” he said after his performance.
“It’s the result of the work that has been carried out in recent years. I’d like to thank everyone for the support and also CONADE [Mexico’s National Commission for Physical Culture and Sport], which allows us to go out and compete in club throwing. It’s an event we’ve fought for to be held in the Americas region,” Ramos added.
In the women’s discus throw F54/55, Rosa Maria Guerrero won gold with an impressive 25.72m effort. She led a Mexican sweep of the F55 podium. Belen Sanchez (20.45m) took home silver, while Maria Guadalupe Hernandez (18.89m) captured bronze.
Local favourites Yasser Guzman and Jose Rodolfo Chessani also impressed. Guzman equalled his personal best of 12.50 seconds in the men’s 100m T11 to claim gold.
Chessani, who holds the Americas record in the men’s 100m T38, topped the podium in the 100m T38 with a time of 11.87 seconds, as he beat David Perez (12.76) and David Jorquera (13.15) from Chile. The Paralympic champion Chessani also secured gold in the 400m T38.
Superb sprints and misfortune for Alkemade
Kimberley Alkemade from the Netherlands suffered from some heavy misfortune this week after her baggage failed to arrive during her travel to Mexico, whilst also testing positive for COVID-19 during a health check before the last day of competition.
The silver medallist in the women’s 200m T64 at Tokyo 2020 was forced to withdraw for the 200m but was able to compete in the women’s 100m T64 on Friday. However, a positive test result for COVID-19 meant she had to miss out on yet another sprint event.
“This adventure was not a success. Sometimes things just don’t go the way you planned. Too bad, but now it’s time to make a new plan”, Alkemade said.
Puerto Rico’s Yaimillie Diaz Colon and USA’s Scout Basset meanwhile produced superb sprints to claim top spots in the women’s 200m T63 and women’s 100m T64 events respectively.
In the men’s 100m T12 final, two-time Paralympic champion Leinier Savon from Cuba clocked a time of 11.22 to win gold, ahead of Mexico’s Hector Vargas (12.52) and his compatriot Josue Pensado Rojas (12.98).
Guity Guity does it again
Costa Rica’s Sherman Guity proved himself as the next sprint sensation in Monterrey, after winning both the men’s 100m and 200m T64 events with a time of 11.00 and 21.70, respectively.
The 23-year-old sprinter only opened his 2022 season two months ago at the GP in Notwill, Switzerland after he decided to scale back this year following an incredible debut at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo.
Guity Guity won the first ever Paralympic medal for Costa Rica with silver in the men’s 100m T64 and then went on to win a gold medal in the 200m T64 with a new Paralympic record of 21.43.
He immediately went back to winning ways in Notwill by claiming gold in the 100m T64 and has now added two more Grand Prix top spots to his tally.
GP series to continue in Marrakech
The World Para Athletics Grand Prix series continues in Morocco when the Marrakech 2022 Grand Prix takes place from 15 to 17 September. It means Africa will host two Grand Prix competitions in the same season for the first time following the Tunis GP in June.
The three action-packed days of track and field events in September will also provide elite-level competition opportunities for athletes from all over the world in the second half of the year.
More information can be found here.
*Records subject to ratification by World Para Athletics