Great Britain’s Hannah Cockroft is on track to complete a hat trick of golds at the World Para Athletics Championships on Thursday (20 July), the seventh day of competition.
The 24-year-old, who won triple Paralympic gold last year, has never been beaten in major competition and after securing the 100m and 800m titles earlier in the championships it would be hard to imagine her losing out in the 400m, back in the same stadium where she delighted the crowds with double Paralympic gold in 2012.
Cockroft starts as the fastest on paper having broken her own world record in May this year with a time of 57.73 but the identity of the silver and bronze medallists is far harder to predict. Fellow Briton Kare Adenegan, 16, has won 100m silver and 800m bronze while 17-year-old American Alexa Halko won 100m bronze and 800m silver. The battle for silver could be close.
The men’s T34 class meanwhile sees Tunisia’s Walid Ktila go for gold over 800m. The 31-year-old multiple world and Paralympic champion is targeting four gold medals in London – as he did successfully at Doha 2015. He’s already half way there, having won 100m and 400m T34 gold earlier in the Championships. But the UAE’s Mohamed Al Hammadi poses a significant threat – he beat Ktila at Rio 2016 and broke the world record earlier this year.
The men’s 800m T53 also takes place and features the likes of Canadian Brent Lakatos and Thailand’s Pongsakorn Paeyo who finished first and second respectively over 100m and 400m. Lakatos was the fastest qualifier in Wednesday’s heats.
After crashing out in the men’s 800m T54 on Monday (17 July), Great Britain’s Richard Chiassaro, China’s Chenming Liu and Tunisia’s Yassine Gharbi return for the 400m T54; as does Swiss star Marcel Hug, winner of the 1,500m T54 on Sunday (16 July). The 800m will be re-run on Friday (21 July).
Great Britain’s Georgie Hermitage competes in the women’s 400m T37, the first of two events for the 28-year-old who won double gold at last year’s Paralympic Games in Rio.
After a standout performance in the women’s 200m T36 earlier in the championships, China’s Yiting Shi looks hard to beat in her 100m race.
South Africa’s Charl du Toit will be hoping to add the 100m T37 title to the 200m T37 gold he won on Tuesday (18 July) – he faces a strong field including Brazil’s Mateus Evangelista, who pushed du Toit all the way to the line in the 200m, and Egypt’s Mostafa Mohamed, silver medallist in Rio.
In the day’s field events, watch out for the men’s club throw F32 – Poland’s Maciej Sochal won gold at Rio 2016 after setting the world record earlier last year; it’s a different matter this year however as Algeria’s former world champion Lahouari Bahlaz tops the rankings with Maciej down in fifth place.
Germany’s Paralympic shot put F41 champion Niko Kappel threw a world record 13.78m in June – he remains the man to beat in London, while in the women’s discus F38 watch out for China’s multiple world and Paralympic champion Na Mi as well as young Irish thrower Noelle Lenihan.
At just 17-years-old Lenihan has a bright future – she won silver at the 2015 World Championships, her debut year on the senior international circuit - then clinched European gold last year with an F38 world record of 31.64m; bronze followed at Rio 2016.
Poland’s Joanna Mazur won the women’s 1,500m T11 on Monday (17 July) after a terrific sprint past the leaders down the home straight. The 27-year-old takes on two events on Thursday – the 400m and the long jump T11. She faces the likes of China’s defending champion Cuiqing Liu over one lap while in the long jump there is another tough field including three of the world’s top five – Italy’s Arjola Dedaj, Japan’s Chiaki Takada and Sweden’s Viktoria Karlsson.