Ones to watch in Berlin16.06.2017
Title contenders for final para athletics Grand Prix before London 2017.
The final Grand Prix of the 2017 World Para Athletics season takes place in Berlin, Germany this weekend (17-18th June), providing a vital chance for many track and field stars to fine tune their preparations ahead of next month’s World Championships.
Eight Grand Prix have already taken place around the world this year and with Para athletes already showing great form – more than 30 world records have fallen so far this year – Berlin is sure to be the scene of yet more world class performances.
Around 200 Para athletes will take part over the two days of competition at the city’s Friedrich Ludwig Jahn Sports Park. Here’s who to look out for:
Men’s 200m T12
South Africa’s Hilton Langenhoven, 33, takes on the 200m as well as the long jump in Berlin – he won Paralympic silver and gold respectively in the two events (T12 class) at Rio 2016 last year. The Berlin Grand Prix will be Langenhoven’s final competition before next month’s World Championships.
Men’s javelin F42
Iceland’s reigning European champion Helgi Sveinsson also lines up in Berlin having enjoyed a terrific start to his 2017 season, improving on his own world record mark at the Rieti Grand Prix in Italy in May with a massive throw of 59.77m.
Men’s high jump T44
A consistent winner at major competitions, Poland’s Maciej Lepiato will be hot favourite to claim the top spot in Berlin. The 28-year-old has two Paralympic, three world and one European title to his name already and holds the world record of 2.19m set in Rio de Janeiro last year.
Men’s shot put T36
Home favourite Sebastian Dietz won Paralympic shot put F36 gold last year to add to his world title from Doha 2015. The 32-year-old is currently ranked number one in the world after throwing 15.09m earlier this month – more than 20cm further than his winning distance at Rio 2016.
Women’s long jump T42
Italy’s golden girl Martina Caironi takes on the long jump in Berlin – she won Paralympic silver in the event last year behind German favourite Vanessa Low. Caironi, 27, has a habit of performing well in Berlin – she set a new 200m T42 world record in the German capital two years ago and won her 100m race here last year.
Women’s discus F51
US Paralympic and world discus champion Rachael Morrison has also tasted success in Berlin – she finished top of the F51 throwers in the discus last year, and won the club throw with 19.60m. The 30-year-old has already thrown the club 23.82m in April this year – a new F51 world record.
Women’s shot put F37
Shot put F37 bronze medallist at last year’s Paralympic Games, Czech thrower Eva Berna finished out of the medals at the last World Championships in 2015 – an outcome she will not want to repeat next month in London. The 31-year-old is currently ranked third in the world behind Chinese duo Na Mi and Yingli Li.