Jesolo’s first World Para Athletics Grand Prix was packed with action and great performances from European, world and Paralympic champions.
The three-day competition marked the first time the Italian city joined the Grand Prix season, as the third leg in the 2021 calendar, with 275 athletes from 33 participating nations.
Italy’s multiple European champion and Rio 2016 Paralympics silver medallist Oney Tapia was one of the stars of Jesolo 2021. He triumphed in two events, men’s shot put F11-12 and discus throw multiclass F11-13/20.
“This was an important competition for me. I worked a lot to be in great shape here. Now I am a little bit tired, but I’m taking home some great results from Jesolo”, said Tapia.
The Cuban-born Italian athlete had a standout performance on Sunday throwing 40.82m for gold in his fourth discus attempt.
“I have worked very intensively with my coach and I hope to see the results a little bit every day. I have to go slow, for now, I have expectations only from my technique”, added the 45-year-old thrower.
Doubles for Ekler, Tlili, Adolphe and Rodriguez
Dubai 2019 World champion Luca Ekler from Hungary was another double gold medallist in Jesolo. She competed in the women’s 200m and 400m T38 and won both races.
“It was a great start to the outdoor season. I can’t wait for the next competitions”, said Ekler.
“I am a little bit disappointed with my times because I ran faster two weeks ago at home. As the time goes, my performance will be better”, explained the Hungarian athlete who was expected in the women’s long jump T38 event, but did not compete due to an injury.
Paralympic and world champion Raoua Tlili of Tunisia also claimed two victories at the Grand Prix. She followed up her win on Friday in the women’s discus throw F40-46 with another gold in the women’s shot put F40-41/46 on Saturday with a throw of 9.79m.
France’s world and European champion Timothee Adolphe was also victorious on Friday and Saturday, in the men’s 100m (11.51) and 400m (53.56) T11 races, respectively.
Ecuadorian world champion Kiara Rodriguez showed fine form ahead of her first Paralympic Games winning the women’s long jump T45-47 and the women’s 100m T46.
“I am very happy with the result. I have prepared well for this competition thanks to my coach, but my objective is Tokyo 2020. I want to qualify and win a gold medal there”, Rodriguez said.
Record for Russo
Italy’s new star Ambra Sabatini did not disappointed the home fans in her first international competition in the country. The 19-year-old world record holder in the women’s 100m T63 won the race in 15.62.
Her compatriot Monica Contrafatto, Rio 2016 medallist, claimed silver in 16.05.
Nicky Russo gave hosts another reason to celebrate. He claimed a National record in the men’s shot put F35-38 (12.88m in his fifth attempt).
Jesolo, near Venice, held the Grand Prix behind closed doors and with COVID-19 protocols in place.
Following the Grand Prix in Dubai in February and Tunis in March, the season will now take a small break before it resumes in Nottwil, Switzerland from 14 to 16 May.
Complete results from Jesolo 2021 can be found here.