"I saw the Cuban athlete coming so I accelerated. But then I felt the pain in my shins, I lost my balance and fell. It was nothing serious. The important thing was to have finished in first place"
The final day of action at the IPC Athletics Grand Prix in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Friday (25 April) saw Daniel Mendes beat World Champion teammate Lucas Prado for the third successuve time in the men’s 200m T11.
Mendes, who finished third to Prado at the 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships in Lyon, France, took victory in 22.78 seconds, just ahead of his 28-year-old Prado (23.17) who won the 100m on Thursday.
In the men’s 200m T46/47, 17-year-old Petrucio dos Santos (21.99) fell over the finish line in a time that would have won him London 2012 gold and was within 0.25 seconds of breaking Australian Heath Francis’s six-year-old world record.
"I saw the Cuban athlete coming so I accelerated. But then I felt the pain in my shins, I lost my balance and fell. It was nothing serious. The important thing was to have finished in first place," said dos Santos who broke onto the scene at March’s Para-South American Games in Santiago, Chile, where he won the 100m and 200m.
The much hyped men’s 200m T42/44 was won by Japan’s Atsushi Yamamoto (26.02) following the withdrawal of US sprinter Richard Browne due to a calf injury during the warm-up.
"I'm really upset about it. I broke the world record last week in Los Angeles and wanted to repeat this time.
“But we have no control over injuries, so I am very sad about that,” said Browne who set an unoffical world record of 21.91 seconds the previous week.
Yamamoto, who was joined on the podium by Brazilians Renato da Cruz and Jose Lima, was pleased with his performance: "I'm happy with this victory. I was tired at the end, but I enjoyed the race."
Brazil’s top athletes grabbed more medals in other competitions on Friday. World Champions Terezinha Guilhermina (25.10 seconds) and Veronica Hipolito (28.18 seconds) both won over 200m in the women’s T11 and T38 respectively.
In the men’s 200m T37 Mateus Evangelista sprinted to the finish line in 24.26 seconds.
Andrew Parsons, President of the Brazilian Paralympic Committee and Vice President of the International Paralympic Committee, was pleased with the event that saw more than 400 athletes from Brazil and 15 other nations compete.
"The results were excellent, both for the athletes, and for the organisation. This competition truly strengthens the sport. The competition is making a name for itself on the international calendar and we are making it stronger every year," said Parsons.
"Petrucio dos Santos’ performance was spectacular. This time would have been worth a gold medal in London 2012 and made everyone very happy", he added.
The 2014 IPC Athletics Grand Prix will now move to Arizona, USA, from 9-11 May before moving to Europe for two editions in Nottwill, Switzerland, from 16-18 May and Grosseto, Italy, from 30 May-1 June where European athletes will be testing their mettle ahead of the 2014 IPC Athletics European Championships in Swansea, Great Britain.