Australia’s Jayden Sawyer clinched his first ever world title with a new javelin F38 world record on Saturday (22 July), the penultimate day of the World Para Athletics Championships London 2017.
The 23-year-old, whose best placed finish in major competition up to now had been third at the Lyon 2013 World Championships, went in to the lead with his third-round effort of 51.05m. But it was his final round throw of 52.96m that really impressed.
"It is amazing to have the crowd behind you here. I knew I was in a good place and I had been working on the run-up. My coach told me to just have a crack at it and so I did,” said Sawyer, who added 58cm on to the previous world record set earlier this year by Iran’s Mohammad Naeiminia.
"It feels amazing. It hasn't sunk in yet. I won a bronze at the Worlds in 2013, but I knew I could have done better than in Rio (fifth place). I knew my time would come.”
South Africa’s Paralympic champion Reinhardt Hamman (50.48m) threw a season’s best for silver while bronze went to Ukraine’s former discus and shot put Paralympic champion Oleksandr Doroshenko (49.63m).
Poland’s double Paralympic champion Maciej Lepiato has dominated the men’s high jump T44 since winning his first global gold back in 2011 on his senior international debut, and he remains the man to beat after winning his fourth consecutive world title, clearing 2.14m.
The 28-year-old then set the bar at 2.20m – one centimetre higher than his own world record – but was unable to clear the new height this time.
“My goal today was to improve my personal best and the world record. I am a bit sad I did not make it but we have some competition in Poland in three weeks so maybe I can improve it there,” said Lepiato.
“This is my fourth world title and I think that is also the thing which motivates me to go on with jumping. I love this sport and I do what I love. I am fifth in the Polish rankings now, what is also a very good result for me.”
Briton Jonathan Broom-Edwards won his third consecutive world silver medal – the 29-year-old bowed out of the competition with three failures at 2.12m, having cleared 2.08m at his third attempt and passed at 2.10m. Bronze went to Japan’s Toru Suzuki with a season’s best 2.01m.
Cuba’s Luis Felipe Gutierrez broke the championship record three times on his way to gold in the men’s long jump T13 – his second global title, having also won in 2013.
The 29-year-old, who won the Paralympic title back in the same stadium in 2012, leapt 7.40m in the fourth round having already managed 7.36m and 7.38m.
“I felt in shape to break the world record today but I had a few problems with my knee just before the competition and that held me back a bit. I picked up a bit of pain in the high jump,” said Gutierrez.
“I haven’t been jumping very much since 2013 because I have had a series of injuries so it feels great to be back in London and competing here again where I won the Paralympic title. It feels great to be in peak condition again and be back at the top level.”
Bulgaria’s Radoslav Zlatanov (6.88m) jumped a new personal best for silver while bronze went to US high jump champion Isaac Jean-Paul (6.84m).
Algeria’s Paralympic champion Asmahane Boudjadar has been in terrific form this year – she broke the javelin F33 world record four months ago and started today’s shot put F33 competition as the world number one. The 37-year-old didn’t disappoint, setting a new African record of 5.92m to take gold ahead of Qatar’s Sara Hamdi Masoud (5.39m) and Greece’s Anthi Liagkou (5.22m), silver and bronze medallists respectively.
"I have been throwing more than six metres in training and I felt good before the competition, so I was happy to get the 5.92 to win. It's great to add this to my Paralympic gold from last year and we are now looking ahead to Tokyo 2020,” said Boudjadar.
Yanzhang Wang (37.16m) took China’s gold medal tally up to 23 with a win in the men’s discus F34 – Iran’s Siamak Saleh Farajzadeh (35.02m) and Tunisian Mohamed Ali Krid (34.35m) claiming silver and bronze.
Iranian Saman Pakbaz finally reached the top of the podium in the men’s shot put F12 after winning silver at both the Doha 2015 World Championships and Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
Pakbaz threw a season’s best 15.82m as he finished ahead of the two men that joined him on the podium in Doha and Rio, Ukrainian Roman Danyliuk (15.61m) and Spain’s Kim Lopez Gonzalez (15.44m).
“I have been thinking about becoming the world champion in this event every day. If you want to be the champion, you have to think this way. I was wondering how it would feel in London,” said Pakbaz.
“I am a bit upset I did not manage to show longer throws because it was very important to me. The weather was not a problem today. Standing on the podium, I will mainly think of the tomorrow’s discus throw competition. I hope I will be able to show a good result there.
There was one gold medal decided out on the track in the morning session – Dyan Buis clinched his second world title with a season’s best 50.87 in the men’s 400m T38.
Running in the inside lane, the South African came off the final bend in pole position, chased by Colombian duo Dixon de Jesus Hooker Velasquez (51.18) and Weiner Diaz Morquera (53.74). But the 26-year-old managed to hold on despite his legs clearly tiring as the finish line approached.
“I have 200m and 400m gold. I’m like the Michael Johnson of T38 – I like that comparison,” said an ecstatic Buis.
“Last time I was in London in 2012 I won two silvers and a bronze and now I have two golds – it is fantastic. I must come here again. The 400m is my main event so this means a lot to me.
“Back home I am a full-time teacher and have been focusing on my post-grad teaching studies. I don’t know how I juggle it all, but my coach manages to get me ready for the races.”
Hooker Velasquez set a new Americas record to take silver while Diaz Mosquera tumbled over the line to take bronze.