Those that feared a January start for the 2011 IPC Athletics World Championships would result in athletes not being at the top of their form had them quashed on day one with records galore tumbling at the QEII Stadium, Christchurch.
In total there were 23 finals on day one with seven World and 19 Championships records been broken.
Kenya’s Abraham Tarbei took the first gold of the Championships with victory in a thrilling Men’s 5,000m T46 final. The 24 year old outpaced Ethiopia’s Wondiye Fikre Indelbu in the final straight to claim first place with a time of 14:48.29. Indelbu recorded 14:48.48 and his teammate Tesfalem Gebru Kebede took bronze with 14:53.32.
The second medal event of the day saw USA’s Amanda McGrory (T53) power to victory in the Women’s 5000m T54 Final. Her time of 12:52.41 put her just ahead of Switzerland’s Sandra Graf who claimed a T54 Championship record with 12:52.61. Great Britain’s Rochelle Woods took bronze in 12:52.82.
Hirokazu Ueyonabaru claimed Japan’s first gold medal of the Championships in a photo finish in the Men’s 1,500m T52 Final. His time of 4:04.51 was just ahead of Austria’s Thomas Geierspichler (4:04.92) in silver and Spain’s Santiago Sanz in bronze (4:05.01).
Great Britain’s Hannah Cockcroft came first in the Women’s 200m T34 Final, a non-medal event in 33.72 – a Championship record.
The Men’s 200m T51 was won by Mexican World record holder Edgar Cesareo Navarro Sanchez in a time of 42.97 - a Championship record. South African Pieter Du Preez took silver (47.15) and Finland’s Toni Piispannen bronze (49.19).
South Africa struck gold in the Men’s 200m T35 Final through Teboho Mokgalagadi with a time of 27.59. Algeria’s Allel Boukhalfa took silver (27.87) and Russia’s Ivan Otleykin (27.98) the bronze.
World record holder Michelle Stilwell of Canada took gold in the Women’s 100m T52 with a Championship record time of 20.35. Silver went to USA’s Kerry Morgan (21.28) and bronze Teruyo Tanaka of Japan (21.28).
The Women’s 100m T13 saw a role reversal of the one two placing from the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games. South African Ilsie Hayes swapped Paralympic silver for World’s gold with a Championship record time of 12.49 whilst Paralympic champion Sanae Benhama took second in 12.54. France’s Nantenin Keita took bronze with a time of 12.87.
In the final medal race of the day in torrential rain Switzerland’s Marcel Hug claimed gold in the Men’s 10,000m T54 in a time of 22:16.83. Japan’s Kota Hokinoue took silver (22:17.20) and Prawat Wahoram of Thailand the bronze (22:17.30).
Earlier in the day in the heats of the Women’s 200m T11, Brazil’s Terezinha Guilhermina outlined her intention to keep her world title with a new World Record of 24.74 smashing a 10 year old record.
Fellow Brazilian Lucas Prado equaled the Championship record in the Men’s 100m T11 heats.
US racer Jessica Galli also smashed her own Women’s 100m T53 Championship record in the heats with a time of 17.57 seconds only to see China’s Lisha Huang lower it further in the very next heat to 16.94.
In the first field event of the day the Men’s Long Jump F37/38 Final China’s Yuxi Ma (F37) took gold with a leap of 6.07m which gave him a World record of 999 points.
Tunisia’s Mohamed Farhat Chida (F38) took silver in a Championship record of 991 points following a 6.19m jump and Ukraine’s Andriy Onufriyenko (F38) the bronze with a jump of 6.09m which equated to 978 points.
Azerbaijan’s Oleg Panyutin, the 2004 Paralympic champion, caused a small upset winning the Men’s Long Jump F13 ahead of 2008 Paralympic gold medalist Hilton Langenhoven of South Africa by a tiny margin. Panyutin’s jump of 6.87m secured gold ahead of Langenhoven (6.84m) in silver and bronze medalist Per Jonsson of Sweden (6.77m).
France’s Arnaud Assoumani broke his own World record from the Beijing Paralympics twice to win gold in the Men’s Long Jump F46. His gold medal winning jump measured 7.58m which was enough to beat Iraq’s Fadhill Al-Dabbagh (6.68m) into silver and Azerbaijan’s Huseyn Hasanov (6.52m) to bronze.
Germany’s Heinrich Popow improved on the bronze medal he won at the 2006 World Championships by breaking the Championship record in the Men’s Long Jump F42 to take gold. His jump of 6.23 put him ahead of teammate Wojtek Czyz (6.14m) and Japan’s Atsushi Yamamoto (5.93m) in silver and bronze respectively.
The Women’s Club Throw F31/32/51 Final saw Tunisia’s Maroua Ibrahim secure gold with an impressive throw of 21.08m, equating to 1027 points. Silver went to Ireland’s Catherine Wayland (13.56m 927 points) and bronze to Great Britain’s Gemma Prescott (16.40m 878 points).
Algeria claimed a spectacular one, two, three in the Men’s Shot Put F32/33 Final. Karim Bettina, an F32 athlete, set a World Record and took gold with a throw of 10.89m worth 1024 points. Teammate and F33 athlete Kamel Kardjenam who threw 12.24m equating to 1020 points also set a World record in claiming silver. Teammate Mounir Bakiri took bronze throwing 9.69m – 978 points.
The Women’s Shot Put F42/44/46 Final saw two Championship records fall. Gold medalist and F44 German athlete Michaela Floeth set a new record with a throw of 12.56m/1012 points whilst China’s F42 athlete Yongyuan Zhong took bronze with a put of 9.70m/957 points. Silver went to her teammate Yajuan Jin (12.47m/1004points).
France’s Thierry Cibone set a new World record in winning the Men’s Shot Put Final F34. His distance of 11.53m was good enough for gold ahead of Great Britain’s Daniel West (11.37m) and Tunisia’s Mohamed Ali Krid (10.41m) in silver and bronze respectively.
Russia claimed their first gold of the Championships in Men’s Shot Put F12 through Vladimir Andryushchenko who threw 14.86m. Silver went to Australia’s Russell Short (14.22m) and bronze Belarus’s Siarhei Hrybanau (13.73m).
Croatia’s Marija Ivekovic took gold in the Women’s Discus Throw F12 (40.62m), however China’s Liangmin Zhang, a F11 athlete, broke the World record with her silver medal throw (40.42m). Ukraine’s Orysia Ilchyna claimed bronze (38.86m).
The Men’s Discus Throw F11 Final was won by Spain’s David Casinos who recorded a distance of 40.89m. Silver went to Ukraine’s Vasyl Lishchynskyi after a throw of 37.39m and Bil Marinkovic’s throw of 36.70m was good enough for bronze.
In the Men’s Javelin F35/36 Final Poland’s Pawel Piotrowski took gold with a Championship records throw of 42.20m worth 991 points. Brazil’s Paulo Souza took silver (40.06m 970 points) and Wei Guo of China bronze (51.62m 966 points).
China took all the medals in the Men’s Javelin F46. Chunliang Guo broke the Championship record three times to claim gold with a distance of 55.90m. His teammate Daichen Wang claimed silver with a throw of 52.60m whilst Jiangbin Fan took bronze with a distance of 49.21m.