Para athletics: 2017 field season review28.12.2017
What were the big stories out in the field this year? Here are the top seven headlines for 2017
Fifty-six world records set
This year’s Grand Prix series provided the setting for numerous world records – starting in Dubai in March, where no fewer than six new marks were set. A further 50 world records fell out in the field over the course of the season, including a number of long-standing marks. This included the men’s discus F11 - Brazilian Alessandro Rodrigo threw 44.66m at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix, breaking a record that had stood for 19 years.
China and Algeria continue to dominate
China dominated the podium at the World Para Athletics Championships, winning 38 medals (out of their total of 65) in the field, 19 of which were gold. Lijuan Zou, Liwan Yang, Enlong Wei, Juan Yao, Zhanbiao Hou, Huimin Zhong, Yue Yang, Guoshan Wu and Yanzhang Wang all clinched multiple field event medals. Algeria won seven of their nine gold medals in field events, thanks to the likes of consistent performers such as Lahouari Bahlaz, Kamel Kardjena and Nassima Saifi.
Diana Dadzite tops London 2017 medals
Latvia’s Diana Dadzite was the top field performer at the World Para Athletics Championships, winning a hat-trick of gold medals in the shot put F55, javelin throw F56 and discus throw F55. The 31-year-old also broke the javelin F55 world record and is the new face of the F55 throws, a class formerly dominated by Germans Martina Willing and Marianne Buggenhagen.
US Para athletes head up jumps
When it came to high jump, long jump and triple jump gold medals at London 2017, the USA had it covered. From newcomers Isaac Jean Paul (high jump T13) and Taleah Williams (long jump T47) to more experienced stars such as T11 long jumper Lex Gillette, US Para athletes kept rising to the top. World titles also went to Sam Grewe (high jump T42), Roderick Townsend-Roberts (high jump T47) and Tobi Fawehinmi (triple jump T47).
New stars in the making
This year’s performances proved that there is a host of new stars to watch out for in the future too – including Trinidad and Tobago’s Akeem Stewart and Uzbekistan’s Aleksandr Svechnikov.
Stewart, 25, won his first world titles this year in the javelin and shot put F44. He added nearly 5m on to Jorg Frischmann’s shot put F43 world record which had stood since 1996 and broke his own javelin world record, previously set at Rio 2016.
Teenager Svechnikov broke the javelin F13 world record in May then did it again, throwing a massive 71.01m in London – 1.01m further than his previous best – to claim his first world gold.
Persistence pays off…
Great Britain’s Stef Reid and Denmark’s Daniel Wagner finally made it to the top of the world podium with superb victories in the long jump T44 and T42 respectively. For Reid, who missed Doha 2015 through injury, the win in front of her home crowd followed fifth place in 2013, a bronze in 2011 and sixth place in 2006 – as well as two Paralympic Games silver medals. Wagner meanwhile claimed his first world title at his fourth World Championships.
…While the more experienced prevail
Poland’s Maciej Lepiato came agonisingly close to breaking his own high jump T44 world record at the Berlin Grand Prix, but he was the clear winner at London 2017, securing his fourth world title.
Great Britain’s Aled Davies added more than one metre on to his shot put F42 world record to finish over three metres clear of his rivals in London. The 26-year-old completed the ‘treble double’, winning discus and shot put titles for the third consecutive World Championships.
Finally, Serbia’s Zeljko Dimitrijevic announced his retirement at the age of 46 after winning club throw F51 gold at London 2017 – his second world title to add to the two Paralympic and one European gold already to his name. He bowed out in style, breaking his own world record twice on his way to gold.