Young Para athletes were in sensational form at the World Para Athletics Championships – smashing world records, claiming gold medals - and showing their more experienced counterparts just how it’s done. But who were they? Here is our pick of the best young male stars of London 2017:
Petrucio Ferreira – 20yrs – (BRA, 100m, 200m, 400m T47)
Ferreira missed the 2015 World Championships through injury but he certainly made his presence known this time around, smashing his own 100m T47 world record set at Rio 2016 with a time of 10.53 before storming home to complete a sprint double with a new 200m T47 world record of 21.21 seconds. The Brazilian is getting ever closer to Ireland’s visually impaired sprinter Jason Smyth, dubbed the fastest Paralympian on the planet with a time of 10.46.
Michael Brannigan – 20yrs – (USA, 800m, 1,500m, 5,000m T20)
US track star Mikey Brannigan arrived in London as the man to beat in the T20 class, and he was unstoppable in the 800m and 1,500m, storming to double middle-distance gold. The 20-year-old attempted to add an incredible third gold in the 5,000m on the final day of competition, but it proved one race too far for the New Yorker – although his silver medal behind Portugal’s early leader Cristiano Pereira was still an outstanding achievement.
James Turner - 21yrs – (AUS, 200m, 400m, 800m T36)
For those fortunate to have seen Turner race his way to 800m T36 gold at the Rio 2016 Games, there was surely little doubt that the 21-year-old could achieve something special in London. And it didn’t take him long – 24.09 seconds in fact. Having broken the 200m T36 world record in the heats, clocking 24.15, Turner went back out 24 hours later and knocked a further 0.06 off his best. The Australian dominated every race he took part in – winning 200m, 400m and 800m T36 gold.
Ntando Mahlangu – 15yrs – (RSA, 100m, 200m T42)
Ntando Mahlangu is only 15-years-old but he’s already a bright star in Para athletics. The South African double-leg amputee clinched silver behind the experienced Briton Richard Whitehead in the 200m T42 – he also finished second behind Whitehead at the Rio Games last year.
In the heats of the 100m T42 Mahlangu crashed to the ground just yards from the finish line – but he picked himself up and finished the race - and will surely come back even stronger next time.
Aleksandr Svechnikov – 19yrs – (UZB, javelin F13)
Talent is clearly in the genes for Svechnikov, who is coached by his mother Elena, while his sister Anastasiya is a former Olympic javelin thrower. Still just a teenager, Svechnikov is the only Para athlete to throw the javelin over 70m. He broke his own world record at London 2017 with 71.01m – and he made it look effortless.
Sam Grewe – 19yrs – (USA, high jump T42)
It’s hard to believe Grewe has only been competing in Para athletics since 2015; he now has two world titles and a Paralympic silver medal to his name. He might also have had a world record by now, if it wasn’t for the wet conditions in London that hindered his attempt to clear the bar at 1.93m - his own personal best and just three centimetres shy of Arnold Boldt’s world record that has stood since 1980.