The BISFed 2016 World Individual Championships begin Monday (21 March) in Beijing, China, and will be the final opportunity for athletes to earn valuable world ranking points ahead of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. The competition runs until 25 March and will feature 137 athletes from 31 countries set to battle over four medal events.
Before the competition kicks off, here are the ones to watch:
The world rankings would have you believe the Netherlands’ Daniel Perez and Great Britain’s David Smith are the only two in contention for gold. However two Thai athletes – Pattaya Tadtong and Witsanu Huadradit – are ranked No. 3 and No. 4 respectively after only entering three competitions in the last two years. They have placed first and second, respectively, in the last two of those competitions and will be difficult players to beat in Beijing.
Brazil’s Maciel Santos is undoubtedly the favourite to win. He has been No. 1 in the BISFed rankings from the outset. Perhaps the most likely challenger will be China’s favourite Zhiqiang Yan. The world No. 2 finished first in the last BISFed event in Cali, Colombia, and claimed silver last time out in Beijing back in 2014. The winner of the gold medal that day, Thailand’s Watcharaphon Vongsa will also be a strong contender.
Great Britain’s Jacob Thomas will not be in attendance in Beijing, so the competition is wide open with the two South Korean athletes hot favourites. Ho Won Jeong and Han Soo Kim have not failed to make the top three in each of their last three competitions. But the European athletes will be doing their upmost to get their hands on a medal. Greece’s Grigorios Polychronidis, Belgium’s Peiter Cilissen and Portugal’s Jose Macedo are a few of the athletes vying for the podium.
The BC4 event is the most hotly contested. Hong Kong, China’s,Yuk Wing Leung has recently been nominated for the Laureus World Sportsperson of the year 2016 with a disability award and is perhaps the favourite for the title. However, Canada’s Marco Dispaltro and Brazil’s Eliseu dos Santos are two athletes that always raise their game for the big occasion.
The complete athlete entry lists can be found on BISFed’s website.
The BISFed 2016 World Individual Championships will be livestreamed, and can also be followed on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #2016BISFedWIC.