The World Para Athletics Championships London 2017 are now behind us – 202 medals were decided, 32 world records were smashed; there was drama, tears and elation.
But who were the top performers? Here are the top five medallists from London 2017:
Tatyana McFadden (USA) – 200m, 400m, 800m, 1,500m T54 gold
When Tatyana McFadden arrived in London nobody was sure just what she might achieve. Of course, she was capable of winning every race she lined up in – at the 2013 World Championships in Lyon, France she did win half a dozen golds after all – becoming the first person ever to win six individual titles at a Para Athletics World Championships.
But 2017 was different – hospitalised due to blood clots in her legs, the 28-year-old had missed much of the build-up to the World Championships undergoing a series of operations. Would one of the world’s greatest ever wheelchair racers still be able to perform?
The answer was a resounding ‘yes’. McFadden was the standout Para athlete in every single race she took part in. She began with gold in the 200m T54; two days later she won the 400m and 1,500m T54, then 48 hours later she added the 800m T54.
Walid Ktila (TUN) – 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m T34 gold
At the World Championships in 2013, Walid Ktila won all four of his events – the 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m 34. Two year later in Doha, Qatar he did it again, finishing top of the individual medals table. What were the chances of the 31-year-old repeating that remarkable feat at London 2017 and achieving a phenomenal ‘treble quadruple’?
His rivals had already proved that they had progressed in the two years since the last World Championships – the UAE’s Mohamed Al Hammadi beat Ktila to 800m T34 gold at the 2016 Paralympic Games, while Australian Rheed McCracken broke Ktila’s 100m world record earlier this year.
But for the third World Championships in a row Ktila was invincible. The Tunisian has won 12 consecutive world titles and that achievement alone makes him one of the star performers of London 2017.
Brent Lakatos (CAN) – 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m T53 gold
Brent Lakatos raced in his first World Championships back in 2006. Eleven years on, at his fifth World Championships and at the age of 37, London 2017 proved to be his best yet.
It was clear beforehand that the Canadian was in terrific form – back in May he set no fewer than five world records from 100m up to 1,500m.
Sure enough Lakatos dominated the T53 class, seeing off the likes of Thailand’s 20-year old double Paralympic champion Paeyo Pongsakorn to claim gold in every T53 wheelchair race from 100m up to 800m.
Johannes Floors (GER) – 100m T44 silver, 200m T43, 400m T43, 4x100m T42-47 gold
Germany’s young track star has come in to his own over the last 12 months. Double European champion in Grosseto, Italy last year, he was also an integral member of Germany’s 4x100m T42-47 relay quartet both in Italy and at Rio 2016. In fact, it was while celebrating his team’s victory that he suffered an injury that ruled him out of contesting the 400m at the Paralympic Games.
This time at London 2017, celebrations were minimal, but success was abundant. The 22-year-old won 100m T44 silver behind Jonnie Peacock then raced to gold in the 200m and 400m T43, getting the better of the USA’s number one T43 sprinter Hunter Woodhall. Floors also brought home the baton for the triumphant German relay quartet at London 2017. He will undoubtedly be one to watch next year.
Diana Dadzite (LAT) – discus F55, shot put F55, javelin F56 gold
Diana Dadzite was the top performer out in the field at London 2017, winning three gold medals.
First the 31-year-old won the shot put F55, the only Para athlete throwing over eight metres. Then came victory in the javelin F56, where Dadzite threw a superb world record 27.07m – nearly four metres further than her previous record set at Rio 2016, and more than six metres clear of her rivals.
Dadzite rounded off a memorable London 2017 with a new personal best in the discus F55 – her throw of 23.18m yet again well clear of her opponents.
And there were more…
Four other Para athletes also clinched triple gold in London – Great Britain’s Hannah Cockroft (100m, 400m, 800m T34); Ukraine’s Leilia Adzhametova (100, 200m, 400m T13); Swiss Marcel Hug (800m, 1,500m 5,000m T54 and Australian James Turner (200m, 400m, 800m T36).