Vervoort won the 100m event at London 2012 and Stilwell took silver, while the results were flipped in the 200m.
These are just five of the hottest rivalries among the 1,100 athletes competing in Lyon from 19-28 July. All of them can be watched live on the IPC’s YouTube channel.
Marieke Vervoort/Michelle Stilwell (women’s 100m and 200m T52): It’s a battle for supremacy between Belgium’s Vervoort and Canada’s Stilwell – both Paralympic Champions. Vervoort won the 100m event at London 2012 and Stilwell took silver, while the results were flipped in the 200m. Stilwell is the world-record holder in the two events, but both are veterans in the sport and the faces of their athletics programmes, so expect a fight in this class all the way through to Rio 2016.
Jeremy Campbell/Dan Greaves (men’s F44 discus): The American and British throwers have alternated the top podium spot in this event over the last several years. USA’s Campbell is the defending Paralympic champion and world-record holder, having thrown 63.46 at the 2012 Endeavor Games. Great Britain’s Greaves, who settled for silver in London, won the last World Championships in Christchurch, New Zealand in 2011.
Jonnie Peacock/Richard Browne (men’s 100m T44): Who will be the fastest man on blades, and will we see another new world record in this event in Lyon? Great Britain’s Peacock is arguably the most well-known after winning gold in the event in front of 80,000 fans at the Paralympics, but USA’s Browne, despite coming off an injury, recently ran a 10.85 to tie Peacock’s personal best.
Heinrich Popow/Scott Reardon (men’s 100m T42): Three hundredths of a second was all that separated this German and Australian pair at London 2012, as Popow just barely snuck away with a gold to add to the 2012 European and 2011 world title he already won in the event. But Reardon tied the world record of 12.14 this season, and Popow has expressed he’s quite nervous about how fast his opponent could potentially run in Lyon.
Mandy Francois-Elie/Johanna Benson (women’s 100m T37): Two rising international stars from France and Namibia, respectively, are expected to put on a show at the Championships, especially being that it’s a home crowd for Francois-Elie. The French sprinter clocked a 13.77 in this distance at the Lyon test event on 25 May, which was 31 hundredths of a second faster than she ran the distance when she won gold at London 2012. Benson, the silver medallist in London, has a huge following in Namibia now after winning the 200m gold at the Paralympics.