Hosts shine bright at Marrakech Grand Prix

Morocco made it a memorable three days at home, Brazil's Gomes and Nigeria’s Nwachukwu set new world records* at the third GP of 2023 12 Mar 2023
Hosts Morocco topped the overall medals table at the Marrakech GP that was attended by 441 athletes from across 46 nations.
Hosts Morocco topped the overall medals table at the Marrakech GP that was attended by 441 athletes from across 46 nations.
ⒸMaroc Handisport
By World Para Athletics

A strong Moroccan contingent brought home the goods at the Marrakech Grand Prix, claiming 16 golds to top the overall medal table.

The hosts – whose line up included three of their four Tokyo 2020 gold medallists – put on a sterling showing in Marrakech as they finished with a total of 39 medals, 17 more than anybody else.

Led by their Tokyo 2020 greats, the hosts led the table from start to finish in a formidable showing. But there were stars beyond the homegrown, not least in the shape of Omara Durand, who took two gold medals from the Grand Prix. 

In throw events, Brazil's Elizabeth Rodrigues Gomes and Nigeria’s Goodness Chiemerie Nwachukwu set new world records* at the third GP of 2023.

The hosts with the most

Leading the way for the locals was Azedinne Nouri. The winner of the F33 shot put in Tokyo collected three more medals for his collection this weekend, taking gold in the shot put and javelin, as well as a silver in the discus.

Ayoub Sadni, the 400m T47 winner in Tokyo, delivered another performance to remember. He sprinted to 400m success again with a 48:27 time at the Grand Stadium, while it was Haitam Alkass in the 100m of the same class. His 11.67 was just good enough to beat Central African Republic’s Leonel Dambourou (11.76).

Fatiha Hassar was in fine form too. She took two golds in discus throw and shot put F57.

New stars were made too over the three-day action. Anass Sikouk collected double gold on the track, with a gold in both the 100m T35/36 and the 400m T36, going viral online in the process. His first victory he took by over a second, a 12.82 that had all eyes on the new sensation who secured a personal best in the process.

Perfect preparation

The French contingent produced some of their very best work in Marrakech. Preparing to host the World Championships and Paralympic Games over the next 18 months, their 21-member team put on a performance that made the rest of the pack take notice.

France took home 20 medals across the three days of action, nine of which were gold to finish below only the hosts and Tunisia. 

Standing out for France was once again Dimitri Pavade, who recorded a 7.00m season best in long jump T46/61/64, finishing more than a metre ahead of second placed Deepak of India.

Gauthier Makunda won the men’s 100m T11 event, while in the women’s 100m T13/37/63, there was a French 1-2-3. Mandy Francois-Elie finished with a 13.88, followed by Celia Terki at 13.47 and Alexandra Nouchet nearly four seconds later.

Brazil on the rise

Did somebody say world records*? Elizabeth Gomes is no stranger to them. She broke the women’s discus throw F53 back in Tokyo, and this time around she claimed it in shot put with a throw of 6.51. She took the gold in discus throw as well.

To another world record holder, and another gold went around the neck of Jerusa Geber Dos Santos. The woman who set a history-making best in the 100m T11 event had no trouble against an all-Angolan opposition, cruising home by seven tenths of a second. 

And what about the rest?

Gomes wasn’t alone when it came to record breakers. Nigeria’s Goodness Nwachukwu claimed the world record* in shot put F42, launching a 9.52 metre throw in a dominant showing. 

China, fresh off their huge medal haul in Dubai, took a smaller team but still picked up a series of golds along the way. Among their nine golds were a season best result for Juan Yao in the discus throw.

And it wouldn’t be a Grand Prix without a Durand masterclass. The Cuban great claimed two more golds to her already stacked collection, with comfortable victories in 200m T12 (24:17) and 400m (54.73). 

What's next?

From Marrakech, we move to the sunny surroundings of Xalapa in Mexico. Replacing Monterrey as the host city, Xalapa GP will take place from 27-29 April.

More information on the Xalapa Grand Prix can be found here.

*World records subject to ratification by World Para Athletics