Middle-distance Para athletes are out in force on Saturday (22 July), the penultimate day of competition at the World Para Athletics Championships London 2017.
The Baka brothers are back on track for the final of the men’s 800m T13. Algerian twins Abdellatif and Fouad won gold and silver respectively in the 1,500m on Wednesday (19 July) and they each won their 800m qualifier – the question is, can Fouad get the better of his brother this time?
Ireland’s Michael McKillop is chasing double gold in London – the 27-year-old, who won the 800m T38 on Sunday (16 July) has four Paralympic and eight world titles to his name. He races in the 1,500m T37 but in-form Canadian Liam Stanley could give him a run for his money.
Poland’s Joanna Mazur goes in the women’s 800m T11 and the 27-year-old is also aiming for a middle-distance double having won the 1,500m T11 with a terrific sprint finish on Monday (17 July). Mazur lines up against the likes of Mexican Laura Coraza Castaneda, ranked number one in the world this year.
The USA’s Michael Brannigan looked in superb form in the heats of the men’s 800m T20 and he could also win his second London 2017 gold, having dominated the 1,500m T20 earlier in the week.
There are also a number of sprint races to be decided on day nine at the London Stadium.
The men’s 400m T38 features South Africa’s Rio 2016 champion Dyan Buis as well as China’s Jianwen Hu and Colombia’s Dixon Hooker Velasquez. Buis ran a storming 200m to win gold in the shorter sprint in London earlier in these championships, and afterwards said “I was running so fast I thought, ‘Please call the fire brigade, I’m on fire.”
US sprinter Jarryd Wallace could win his first world title since 2013 when he goes in the 200m T44. The 27-year-old tops the world rankings and already has a bronze medal from the 100m T44.
Germany’s man of the moment Johannes Floors is aiming for his second individual world title in London – he won the 400m T43 on Monday having also clinched 100m T44 silver behind Great Britain’s Jonnie Peacock.
The men’s 200m T47 features Brazilian duo Yohannson Nascimento, gold medallist over 200m on this track back in 2012, as well as young star Petrucio Ferreira, who won the 100m world title a week ago. Ferreira is the world record holder and qualified fastest in the heats.
British gold medal hopes will rest with Aled Davies in the men’s shot put F42, Sophie Hahn in the women’s 100m T38 and Georgie Hermitage in the women’s 100m T37. All three have already won gold here in London and as reigning Paralympic champions and world record holders, they will be odds on to top the podium again.
The high jump competitions captured the crowds at Rio 2016 and the anticipated showdown between Poland’s Maciej Lepiato and Great Britain’s Jonathan Broom-Edwards in the T44 class should once again provide plenty of entertainment.
The pair have a great rivalry that dates back to the 2013 World Championships but so far it’s been Lepiato who has come out on top – Broom-Edwards will be hoping the home support can finally propel him to the top.
Keep an eye out for the USA’s Sam Grewe in the high jump T42 competition – the 19-year-old only made his international debut in 2015; he’s already set a new personal best of 1.93m in May this year and has his sights on the world record mark of 1.96m set by Canadian Arnauld Boldt back in 1980.
Watch out too for Jean-Paul Isaac in the men’s long jump T13 – the American has already soared to gold in the high jump event, setting a new world record in his first year of Para athletics competition; he tops the world rankings in the long jump with a season’s best of 6.88m – just three centimetres ahead of Spain’s European champion Ivan Cano Blanco.