Australia’s teenage sensation and double world champion Isis Holt smashed her own 200m T35 world record on the final day of competition at IPC Athletics’ season-opening Grand Prix in Canberra, Australia, on Sunday (7 February).
The 14-year-old looked in terrific form as she knocked 0.19 seconds off the world mark she set at the IPC Athletics World Championships in Doha, Qatar, just three months ago.
Holt, who competes in the T35 class, clocked a phenomenal 28.38 in the heats of the 200m (ambulant) to make clear her intentions in an exciting year of para-athletics which culminates in the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games in less than eight months’ time.
The result came just 24 hours after the Melbourne schoolgirl came within one hundredth of a second of her 100m world record on the AIS Athletics track - and she was suitably delighted.
“This is completely unexpected. After the 100m yesterday, I had no idea how I would back that up so to come away with a time like this is remarkable, really,” said Holt.
“I don’t know what this year will bring but this sets a great benchmark. To do this now makes the prospect of 2016 so exciting. Rio will be amazing regardless, but if I am running quick it will be that little bit better.
“It’s a bit crazy, it’s just so busy, but my school has been great and I’m in a routine now,” said the Year 9 student. “We’ve managed to balance my homework and everything with the training I need for athletics. It’s going to be a hectic twelve months but I’m really looking forward to it.”
New Zealand’s Anna Grimaldi (T47) took the tape in the 200m final (27.32) to add to her second place finish in Saturday’s long jump. In the men’s 200m (ambulant) Australia’s Tim Foster (T20) clinched first place (24.04) ahead of New Zealander Ethan Rangi (T20) (24.78).
Like Holt, Australia’s T53 wheelchair racer Angie Ballard also made it double gold at the World Championships in Qatar last year. The 33-year-old continued a successful weekend out on the Canberra track as she won the 200m and 800m to add to her hat-trick of victories a day earlier.
Ballard clocked 30.54 in the 200m to finish ahead of T34 racer Rosemary Little (33.44), whilst in the 800m she took the tape in 1:49.57, just over two seconds outside the world record mark she set in Switzerland last year.
Ballard’s training partner Madison de Rozario, the reigning 800m T53 world champion, finished in second place (1:54.63).
There was a convincing win for Australia’s world and Paralympic silver medallist Brad Scott in the men’s 800m (ambulant). The T37 middle-distance man finished nearly seven seconds clear of the rest of the field with his compatriot James Turner (T36) second in 2:08.80 – a time that would have earned him bronze at last year’s World Championships. Victory in the men’s 800m wheelchair event went to fellow Australian Richard Nicholson (T54) in a time of 1:38.28.
In the women’s shot put (ambulant), Australia’s Katherine Proudfoot (F36) threw a best of 8.90m with her third attempt to take the win (on points) ahead of World Championship finalist Nicole Harris (F20), who managed 11.49m with her final throw.
The 2016 IPC Athletics Grand Prix series now heads to Dubai in the UAE from 17-20 March.