World records fell on the track and out in the field on the first day of competition (Friday 12 May) at the Arizona Grand Prix in the USA.
Great Britain’s Samantha Kinghorn smashed the 200m T53 world record while US world silver medallist Rachael Morrison regained the mantle of world record holder in the women’s club throw F51.
Kinghorn, 21, raced home in 28.67 to knock a remarkable 0.26 seconds off the mark set by US racer Jessica Galli five years ago.
The Scot, who won 200m T53 bronze at the 2015 World Championships in Doha, Qatar, demonstrated that she will be a force to reckon with at the World Para Athletics Championships in London in nine weeks’ time.
Morrison meanwhile threw a massive 23.17m with her fourth attempt in the women’s club throw F51, adding 36cm on to the mark set by Briton Jo Butterfield at Rio 2016.
Morrison had previously held the world record back in 2014 when she managed 21.90m.
US sprinters Jarryd Wallace and David Brown also laid down their markers for the rest of the season with impressive performances at the Arizona State University’s Joe Selleh track.
Former world champion Wallace clocked 22.16 seconds in the men’s 200m T44, underlining his place at the top of the world rankings, while Brown managed 23.70 seconds in the T11 race as he finished more than a second clear of the field.
Wallace was in superb form 12 months ago but failed to medal at the Rio 2016 Games, while Brown secured Paralympic gold in the 100m T11 in Brazil but failed to progress to the 200m T11 final, which was won by Namibia’s Ananias Shikongo.
Both Americans have made it clear they are determined to make amends for those defeats come London 2017.
Other 200m sprints also took place out on the Arizona track. In the men’s T12 it was Brazilian Sivaldo Santos de Douza (23.86) who came out on top while in the T38, Canada’s Kyle Woodhouse (24.72) was the clear winner.
US racer Erik Hightower (25.73) won the men’s T54 while in the women’s event world silver medallist Cheri Madsen (29.31) saw off the likes of her US teammate Hannah McFadden (30.59) to take the win.
Canada’s Austin Smeenk (T34) (27.71) finished well clear of his rivals in the T33/34; the USA’s Brett Gravatt (28.47) was the winner in the men’s T53; fellow American Regas Woods (27.22) won the T42 and Mexico’s former Paralympic and world champion Salvador Hernandez Mondragon (T52) (34.10) crossed the line first in the T51/52.
US Para athletes notched up other wins thanks to teenager Jaleen Roberts (27.93), who won the women’s 200m T37/38; 14-year-old Sophie Munter (36.48) who won the T32/33/34 race and Amy Watt (29.03), winner in the 200m T45/46/47 as Paralympic champion Deja Young failed to finish.
There were also a number of 800m races on Friday. The USA’s Mark Braun (1:50.48) took the tape in the men’s T54; Japan’s Hitoshi Matsunaga (1:47.71) won the T52/53; Mexico’s Yasser Guzman (2:15.35) won the T11/12; the USA’s Branden Walton (2:06.38) won the T13; Denmark’s Mohamed Hersi (2:07.12) won the T20 race and in the T35-38 event Canadian 15-year-old Zachary Gingras (2:11.67) excelled.
In the women’s 800m T54 there was a win for Japan’s Tsubasa Kina (1:56.02) ahead of Hannah McFadden (1:56.40).
Canada’s Austin Smeenk (1:47.45) and Briton Samantha Kinghorn (1:52.05) notched up their second wins of the day over two laps. Smeenk won the 800m T33/34 while Kinghorn secured a convincing victory in the women’s T33/34/52/53 event. The USA’s Paralympic silver medallist Alexa Halko (2:02.66) was the first of the T34 racers over the line.
Back out in the field, US thrower David Blair – Paralympic champion in the discus F44 - came out on top in the shot put F44 with a best of 15.28m to go to the top of the world rankings.
There was a win too for US world champion Lex Gillette, who leapt 6.30m in the long jump F11 – just 8cm shy of the distance he jumped to secure global gold at Doha 2015.
Paralympic silver medallist Cassie Mitchell (12.85m) got the better of her teammate Rachael Morrison (12.10m) in the women’s discus F51.
The Arizona Grand Prix continues on Saturday 13 May. Full results can be found here.