“I don’t train for the 400m at all and run it very rarely. I remember doing one in Guadalajara at the 2011 Parapans, London 2012 and then also I think a race in Brazil.”
The world’s fastest leg amputee, Alan Oliveira of Brazil, will aim to complete a hat-trick of sprint titles on Friday (26 July) at the 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships in Lyon, France when he goes head-to-head with his American rivals Blake Leeper and David Prince in the 400m T43/44 final.
The 20-year old won his semi-final in a personal best 50.50 seconds on Thursday (25 July) despite afterwards struggling to remember the last time he raced a 400m.
“I don’t train for the 400m at all and run it very rarely. I remember doing one in Guadalajara at the 2011 Parapans, London 2012 and then also I think a race in Brazil,” admitted Oliveira who stormed the first 300m in what looked like world record pace, before running out of gas and practically having to jog the last 50m.
Germany’s David Behre may also be a contender after finishing ahead of T44 world record holder Prince in the second semi-final.
Two Paralympic champions will be in action on Friday in different 100m class finals and both promise to be classic races.
Germany’s Heinrich Popow and Australia’s Scott Reardon will go head-to-head in the T42 final, a race that saw them separated by just 0.03 seconds at London 2012, with the German coming out on top. Popow set a championship record in qualifying however Reardon will give the defending world champion one of the hardest races of his career.
Flying Fin – Leo-Pekka Tahti – will go in the T54 final and knows that even though he set a championship record to qualify he will be pushed all the way by Dutch rival Kenny van Weeghel, the 200m world champion.
Marcel Hug will compete for his fourth gold later. The 27-year old Swiss Silver Bullet has already collected 400m, 5,000m and 10,000m T54 world titles in Lyon and will be confident of further success in the 1,500m, a distance he is the world record holder at.
With rival Marieke Vervoort of Belgium out of the Championships following a heavy crash in Wednesday’s 800m T52, Canada’s Michelle Stilwell will be confident of landing her second Lyon 2013 gold in the 100m.
In the field, China’s discus T37 world record holder and London 2012 champion Mi Na will look to retain the world title she first won back in 2011.
America’s two undefeated multi-medallists – Tatyana McFadden and Raymond Martin - will be in action on Friday competing in the 400m T54 and T52 semi-finals respectively. No-woman has ever won six world titles from six events however few would bet against McFadden after the form she has shown this week. Martin will also be keen to progress through for the opportunity to win his fifth gold medal of Lyon 2013.
Sprinters Terezinha Guilhermina of Brazil and Yunidis Castillo of Cuba will start their campaigns for a hat-trick of gold medals on Friday. Guilhermina will run the 200m T11 semis, whilst Castillo aims to qualify for Saturday’s 100m T46 final.
The 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships, featuring over 1,000 athletes from nearly 100 countries, runs through until Sunday 28 July. It is the biggest gathering of international athletes since London 2012 and is being streamed each day live via www.ParalympicSport.TV.
Live results can be found at the Lyon 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships website whilst updates and behind the scenes pictures can be found at Twitter.com/IPCAthletics and Facebook.com/IPCAthletics. More pictures can be found at Flickr.com/ipc-athletics-lyon2013.