Kobe 2024: Aitchison, Athmani lead record-breaking Thursday

New Zealand's sprinter smashes 200m T36 world mark while Algeria set two new world records with another triumph for Skander Djamil Athmani (men's 100m T13) and Safia Djelal's women’s shot put F57 gold; Turkey’s Serkan Yildirim becomes the world's fastest man in the 400m T12 in a day that saw Dominican Republic's first-ever gold and victories for Tokyo 2020 Paralympic champions Vanessa Low and Daniel Pembroke 23 May 2024
A young female athlete posing for a picture next to a screen showing a world record
Danielle Aitchison of New Zealand celebrating her world record on day seven at the Kobe 2024 Para Athletics Worlds
ⒸPaul Miller/Getty Images
By Kai Dambach I For World Para Athletics

Day seven of competition at the Kobe 2024 Para Athletics World Championships was a jam-packed Thursday with 22 events coming to an end, and several of them saw new world records take over.

New Zealand’s Danielle Aitchison crashed the record by seven tenths of a second with a final time of 27.47 in the women’s 200m T36. Shi Yiting of China set an Asian record for silver, and Mali Lovell of Australia had a career best run for the bronze.  

“I’m over the moon. The world record wasn’t what I was coming here to achieve,” Aitchison said. “It is so amazing. I can’t believe it. I learned a lot from the 100m, I learned to run my own race and be ready to go when the gun goes and that’s what I managed to execute in the 200m. The aim was the focus on myself – and I felt I did exactly that. Coming across the line I did not expect to run such a time. I was totally mind blown by the time.”

Turkey’s Serkan Yildirim set a new world record in the men’s 400m T12, as the previous record holder could only watch from behind. Yildrim lead the whole way around the track, breaking Morocco’s Abdeslam Hili’s record from the 2020 Paralympics, with a time of 47.47. Morocco’s Mouncef Bouja had a career best 48.42 effort, as Tunisia’s Rouay Jebabli set a season best for third, and Hili fell back in the final 100 metres for fourth place.

Algeria’s Skander Djamil Athmani took home another gold and set a new world record on Thursday. His 46.44 second time in the men’s 400m T13 broke the record he set in the 2020 Paralympics, which was just a quick shinkansen ride away to the north. Fukunaga Ryota set a season best for silver, and Buinder Brainer Bermudez Villar of Colombia set a new Americas record to win the bronze medal. 

Algeria grabbed two of the top three spots in the women’s shot put F57. Safia Djelal bettered her world record distance in her third attempt with a distance of 11.62m for the gold. Nassima Saifi took the bronze with a 10.31m throw in her first throw.

Malaysia’s Muhammad Nazmi Nasri needed just one jump to take the gold in the men’s long jump T37 with a career best leap of 6.13m. Konstantinos Kamaras of Greece took the silver, and Mateus Evangelista Cardoso from Brazil tied at 6.01m, but Kamaras leapt in less favorable wind to finish in silver, and put Cardoso in bronze.

History for Dominican Republic

It was a tight final in the men’s 100m T11, with all four finalists finishing in 0.16 seconds of each other. China’s Di Dongdong, the silver medalist in the long jump T11, finished his time in Kobe with a gold medal time of 11.28 seconds. Defending Paralympic champion Nasos Ghavelas of Greece crossed the line in second, but was disqualified as his guide crossed the line before him, putting Ye Tao of China and Eduardo Manuel Uceda Novas of Spain in second and third place, respectively.

The Dominican Republic got its first ever gold medal in Para Athletics World Championships on Thursday. Darlenys de la Cruz Severino set a season record as she blazed down the track in 12.43 seconds in the women’s 100m T12. Brazil’s Lorraine Gomes de Aguiar picked up her second silver medal in Kobe with a time of 12.58 seconds.

“It is our first World Championships and also the first gold to Dominican Republic. We are really proud,” Severino said.

China took the gold and bronze in the women’s shot put F64. All of Yao Juan’s throws were far enough for gold on their own, and Yao’s second attempt of 12.50m was 66 centimetres further than silver medalist Arelle Middleton of the United States. Yang Yue finished off the podium with an 11.26m throw.

Oney Tapia set a season best in his final valid attempt in the men’s discus F11. The Italian’s third overall throw launched him from sixth to the top of the podium (42.76m). Iran’s Mahdi Olad took silver, his second medal at the championships, with a 42.36m throw. Bill Marinkovic took the bronze medal with a season best throw of 37.82m attempt.

China’s Wang Jun, the world record holder in the women’s shot put F35 from the 2016 Rio Paralympics, showed that she still has what it takes to win. Her season best 12.06m throw was over three metres further than Uzbekistan’s Dilafruzkhon Akhmatkhonova.

The men’s 100m T36 final was as tight as absolutely possible for the silver and bronze. China’s Deng Peicheng was the clear winner, being the only athlete to finish in under 12 seconds. But China’s Yang Yifei, Algeria’s Mokhtar Didane and Japan’s Matsumoto Takeru all officially finished at 12.35 seconds. Yang took silver with a time of 12.344, Didane finished at 12.345, and Matsumoto was just three thousandths of a second further behind.

Low's superpowers

Australia’s Vanessa Low (T61) set a new championship record with a distance of 5.29m on her way to gold in the women’s long jump T63. Japanese jumpers Tozawa Tomomi and Maegawa Kaede both jumped 4.66m, but Tozawa grabbed silver as she had less help from the wind. 

“After last year, I was confident that I could build back up to my normal self. Going into Paris last year, it was probably a bit rushed but I’m a better athlete now than I was before pregnancy and more physically capable than I was before I was a mother,” Low said. “Being a mother gives me some extra superpowers and I’m looking forward to seeing what I can do in Paris, knowing we still have about 100 days to go.”

Mexico’s Gilda Guadalupe Cota Vera set an Americas record while getting a gold in the women’s shot put F33. Her final attempt of 7.77m was just four centimetres off the world record which was set in Dubai 2019. Wu Qing of China and neutral athlete Svetlana Krivenok finished off the podium for silver and bronze, respectively.

All but one of the finalists in the men’s discus throw F64 set season bests. David Blair of the United States, however, was the only one to have only legal throws, and the only one to go beyond 60 metres with a throw of 60.13m for gold. Tokyo 2020 Paralympic silver medalist Ivan Katanusic of Croatia received the silver medal.

The reigning Paralympic champ two-time defending world champion in the men’s shot put F35 was back for more gold. Uzbekistan’s Khusniddin Norbekov set a season best 16.37m on his way to his fifth ever world title. Seyed Aliasghar Javanmardi of Iran took silver with a season best 16.06m, and Fu Xinhan of China won the bronze with a 15.55m. 

The defending Paralympic champion in the men’s javelin throw F13 was back on top in Kobe. Great Britain’s Daniel Pembroke’s 66.96m throw, a season best, in his final attempt flew more than three metres farther than anyone else to add to his collection of gold from Japan. Iran took second and third with Ali Pirouj launching his javelin 63.15m and Sajad Nikparast’s javelin flying 62.30m, both season bests for those athletes.

“This was my season opener, so I knew it would be a bit sketchy, but during the first few sets of throws, I was telling myself ‘Come on, you’ve got more than this’. That last throw I managed to get 66.96m which got the job done, so I was happy to make that gap between first and second even wider which is what we like,” Pembroke said.

Pierre Fairbank of France timed his final sprint in the men’s 800m T53 final to perfection, just jumping in front of Tunisia’s Mohamed Nidhal Khelifi for the gold medal, his second in Kobe. Khelifi finished his time in Japan with three total medals, with the silver medal being his best.

Rerun and new gold for Kuwait

Zhou Hongzhuan of China had a golden time in Kobe, winning her third gold medal in the women’s 400m T53. Her time of 54.57 beat the previous championship record time from London 2017 by 0.65 seconds. Her compatriot, Gao Fang, set a season best time of 55.78 for the silver, and Hamide Dogangun of Turkey came in third at 58 seconds flat.

Zhou Zhaoqian of China picked up her fourth overall medal in Kobe in the women’s 400m T54, and her second gold. Her time of 53.91 seconds was almost a second faster than Noemi Alphonse from Mauritius and was a season best. Tian Yajuan of China took the bronze in 54.97 seconds.

In a rerun of the men’s 500m T54, Kuwait’s Faisal Alrajehi reclaimed his position on top of the podium. It was a tight battle between him and Saichon Konjen of Thailand throughout the final lap, but Alrajehi had just enough steam to fend off Konjen by nine hundredths of a second. Luo Xingchuan of China set a season best for the bronze.

Complete results, all medallists and records from Thursday at Kobe 2024 are available here

With two days remaining in the World Championships, China is well out in front in the medal count. China has 25 golds and 66 overall medals, twice the total number of medals of Brazil in second. Brazil has 18 gold medals and 33 total medals after seven days of competition. The US is in third with five gold medals and 19 medals in total.

The Kobe 2024 action is live on the World Para Athletics Facebook page and the Paralympics YouTube channel.