London 2017: Day 4 previewBig name blade runners including van Rhijn, Floors and Whitehead will go for gold. 17 Jul 2017
The Netherlands’ double world and Paralympic champion Marlou van Rhijn returns to the scene of her first major international title on Monday (17 July) when she lines up in the women’s 100m T44 at the World Para Athletics Championships London 2017.
Van Rhijn won 200m T44 gold at the London 2012 Paralympic Games then went on to win double sprint gold at the World Championships in 2013 and 2015, and again at Rio 2016 last year.
Just 0.02 seconds separated van Rhijn and Germany’s Irmgard Bensusan in Rio but it’s T43 world record holder van Rhijn who has gone below the 13 second mark – as has Great Britain’s Sophie Kamlish who set a T44 world record of 12.93 in the heats at Rio 2016.
Another double-leg amputee going for gold in the London Stadium on Monday is Germany’s Johannes Floors. Bronze medallist in the 400m T43 two years ago, Floors has improved notably in the last two years.
The 22-year-old set new European 100m and 200m T43 records earlier this year but he’s made it clear that the 400m is a top priority – especially after missing out at Rio 2016; he injured his leg celebrating with his teammates after winning Paralympic relay gold and was unable to race over one lap.
The USA’s Hunter Woodhall, who won silver at Doha 2015 will provide the biggest threat - defending champion David Behre has withdrawn through injury.
Tunisia’s Walid Ktila has already won 100m T34 gold in London – he will be hoping to add the 400m title to his collection. The 31-year-old finished top of the individual medals table in Doha and is chasing four golds again. Great Britain’s Hannah Cockroft also goes for her second win in London, having won the women’s 100m T34 on day one.
Peter Genyn won double world gold in the T51 class two years ago – a feat he repeated at Rio 2016, earning him a congratulatory phone call from the King of Belgium. The 40-year-old takes on the 400m T51 against the likes of Mexico’s Edgar Navarro Sanchez and Italy’s Alvise de Vidi, silver and bronze medallists at Rio 2016.
US middle-distance star Michael Brannigan won his first major international title when he clinched world 1,500m T20 gold two years ago and he’s not looked back since.
Last August he broke the four-minute mile for the first time; he then won Paralympic gold at Rio 2016. Earlier this year he clocked 3:45.50 over 1,500m to set a new T20 world record en route to finishing seventh in the prestigious Invitational Men’s Mile race at the Millrose Games in New York. He will surely be tough to beat.
In the shorter sprints, Australia’s defending champion Scott Reardon lines up alongside Great Britain’s 200m T42 champion Richard Whitehead and Denmark’s Daniel Wagner – the pair shared silver behind Reardon at Rio 2016.
Ukraine’s Leilia Adzhametova is targeting her second London 2017 gold after winning the 200m T13 on Sunday (16 July). She will go head-to-head with Sunday’s silver medallist Ilse Hayes of South Africa.
Out in the field Paralympic and world champion Markus Rehm starts as favourite in the long jump T44. The German set a world record 8.40m at the 2015 World Championships – a distance that would have won him gold at both the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games. His nearest rival in London is Dutchman Ronald Hertog, who has a personal best of 7.57m.
Brazil’s Paralympic champion Alessandro Silva heads up the field in the men’s discus F11 – he set a new world record of 44.66m earlier this year; in the women’s javelin F56 Latvia’s Diana Dadzite will be hoping to pick up her second gold medal of the Championships having won the shot put on Saturday (15 July). As the reigning Paralympic champion and world record holder she will surely be hard to beat.