Kobe 2024: Hat-trick of golds for Uzbekistan, 16th world title for Cockroft

Nurkhon Kurbanova's world record, Safiya Burkhanova and Asila Mirayorova put Asian nation on the top of the podium in women's events on Friday, British wheelchair racer follows 800m T34 victory with silver medal in the universal relay as China take the title 24 May 2024
A female athlete throwing a javelin in a stadium
Nurkhon Kurbanova of Uzbekistan set a new world record in the women's javelin F54 on Friday at the Kobe Universiade Memorial Stadium
ⒸPaul Miller/Getty Images
By Kai Dambach I For World Para Athletics

The penultimate day of the Kobe 2024 Para Athletic World Championships was special for Uzbekistan, as they took gold after gold on Friday, and for Great Britain's star Hannah Cockroft who claimed her 16th world title.

The world record in the women’s javelin throw F54 was broken three times by the gold medallist. Uzbekistan’s Nurkhon Kurbanova bested the record set by Flora Ugwunwa of Nigeria in her first attempt. Kurbanova would then beat her first throw in her second and final attempts, setting the bar at 20.73m. Ugwunwa set a season best for silver at 19.33m, and Elham Salehi of Iran won the bronze with a 16.61m throw.

Uzbekistan also took gold in the women’s shot put F12. All of Safiya Burkhanova’s legal attempts were far enough for the gold, and her penultimate throw was the only one to travel more than 13 metres, flying 13.05m. China took silver and bronze with Zhao Yuping and Xue Enhui, respectively, with Xue making it to the podium with her final throw by six centimetres.

Uzbekistan also grabbed the gold in the women’s long jump T11. Asila Mirayorova defended her stay on top of the podium by setting a championship record in her first jump of 5.18m. Brazil’s Lorena Silva Spoladore, who has medalled at every World Championship since 2013, kept her streak going with a bronze in the women’s 100m T11 on Tuesday and silver in the long jump T11. China’s Zhou Guohua set a season best for the bronze.

“I won last year and I won this year again, I am very happy. Thank you, Kobe for all your support,” Miravorova said, referring to her triumph at last year’s Worlds in Paris.

British wheelchair racer Cockroft was back for more gold in the women’s 800m T34 in the evening session. The seven-time Paralympic champion added her 16th world title by more than 12 seconds, and smashing the previous championship record that she set in Dubai 2019 by over four seconds, with a time of 1:52.79. China’s Lan Hanyu took the silver in a new Asian record, and Liu Panpan of China set a career record to take the bronze with a final kick in the last 100 metres.

“Sixteen world titles is like one world title for every year I have been racing so I am very happy. Two races within 50 minutes of each other was a big ask. I was testing it here to see if I could actually handle it," said Cockroft who also took a silver in the universal 4x100m relay. “To finish on a night like this has been amazing. To do what I did in the 800m, and then come back and get a silver in the relay is what I hoped for, but I don’t know if I believed I could do it."

Gold for Mexico, Finland

Mexico’s Edgar Ulises Fuentes Yanez set a new championship record in the men’s javelin throw F54, breaking the old record three times over in his six attempts. His final toss was the first in World Championship history to beat 30 metres, with a final distance of 30.25m. Greece’s Manolis Stefanoudakis, the gold medallist from the 2016 Rio Paralympics, nabbed silver with a throw of 29.91m. Neutral athlete Sergei Makhov set a career record for the bronze medal.

After protests from the previous day, the men’s 100m T54 took place about 14 hours later than previously scheduled. Finland’s Leo-Pekka Tahti, the four-time Paralympic champion in this event, took the world championship for the fifth time in a time of 13.78, his season best. China’s Hu Yang and Mexico’s Juan Pablo Cervantes Garcia both set season-best times for silver and bronze, respectively. 

Defending Paralympic champion Michael Brannigan of the US had a mission to improve on his silver medal from last year’s World Championships in the men’s 1500m T20. Mission accomplished for him, as he beat his own championship record from London 2017 by over a second in 3:51.71. Portugal’s Sandro Baessa’s final kick put him in second, just in front of Japan’s Togawa Yuji, who took bronze 0.1 seconds later.

“I feel excited and happy,” Brannigan said. “I felt good and stayed in control, ran my own race, and I executed. I feel really proud of myself, and I believe I can do it in Paris.”

A female wheelchair racer crossing the finish line in an athletics track
Cockroft crossing the line for the women's 800m T34 gold at Kobe 2024

The defending world champion in the women’s long jump T47 came to play in Kobe. Ecuador’s Kiara Rodriguez leapt for a season best 6.17m to stay on top of the world. New Zealand’s Anna Grimaldi took silver in a season best leap, and Petra Luteran of Hungary had the best jump of her career to get the bronze.

Belgium’s Maxime Carabin took his second gold medal in these World Championships in the men’s 100m T52. While he couldn’t quite meet the championship record he set in the qualifying heat, he still cruised to victory by more than a second in 16.79. Mexico’s Salvador Hernandez Mondragon was next across the line, and Tomoki Sato of the home nation finished off the podium.

The last man to go in the men’s shot put F57 needed just one throw to take the gold. Defending world champion and world record holder Iran’s Yashin Khosravi waited all evening to go, and showed everyone else how it’s done. Khosravi did not need to keep going, but he pushed his mark to 15.83m, a season best. Brazil’s Thiago Paulino dos Santos set a season best with a toss of 15.08m. Teijo Koopikka of Finland finished off the podium with a season best attempt of 14.74m.

Tight relay

Xue Enhui of China set a career record in the women’s discus throw F11 in her first attempt. Her throw of 40.24m set the standard that no one else could match to give her the gold. Zhang Liangmin of China, who set the world record in the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics and retained the championship record she set in Christchurch 2011, set a season best for silver in her final attempt. Izabela Campos of Brazil finished in third.

Neutral athlete Aleksandr Iaremchuk, the defending Paralympic champion, won his first gold in Kobe in championship record time in the men’s 1500m T46. His time of 3:48.87 beat the previous World Championships record by exactly two seconds. The man who held that record, Bulgaria’s Hristiyan Stoyanov, came in second in European record time. Michael Roeger set a new Oceania record for the bronze.

Belgium’s returned to the podium in the evening session with Roger Habsch taking the top spot in the men’s 100m T51 in 20.82, as Canada’s Cody Fournie set a career record for the silver and Edgar Cesareo Navarro Sanchez of Mexico picked up the bronze with a season best time.

Neutral athlete Artem Kalashian won the men’s 100m T35 in 11.71. Colombia’s Jose Gregorio Lemos Rivas took care of business in the men’s shot put F38 and defended his world title from Paris 2023 with a season best attempt of 17.10m.

The universal 4x100m relay brought the day’s events to a close in a tight race around the track. China took home another gold medal by beating the championship record they set in Dubai 2019 by 0.81, with a time of 45.54. Great Britain took the silver setting a season best for them in 47.50 seconds. Japan was initially given the bronze medal, but was disqualified for a lane violation, giving the medal to Indonesia instead.

Complete results, records and medallists from Friday's action can be found here

After eight days of competition, and one more to go, China is well out in front in the medal count. The nation has 26 gold medals and 73 in total. Brazil is second with 18 gold medals won and 36 overall. The United States has six gold medals and a total of 19. 

The last day of the Para Athletics World Championships will be live on the World Para Athletics Facebook page and the Paralympics YouTube channel.