Para athletics season in review: Field events

With the 2016 season over we take a look back at the best of the field action. 22 Nov 2016
Marie-Amelie le Fur of France

Marie-Amelie le Fur of France celebrates winning the gold medal in the Women's 400m - T44 Final at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

ⒸAtsushi Tomura/Getty Images for Tokyo 2020

It is time to turn our attention to the field events of 2016 - here is a look back at some of the highlights of the year, with 10 of the top field event headlines from the 2016 season.

1. High jump a real crowd pleaser

One field event certainly captured the crowd’s attention at Rio 2016 – the men’s high jump. The T42, T44 and T47 competitions brought fans to their feet as India’s Mariyappan Thangavelu, Poland’s Maciej Lepiato and the USA’s Roderick Townsend-Roberts won their respective events. Lepiato, who also won European gold in June, leapt a world record 2.19m.

2. Tunisian women impress in the field

Tunisia’s female field event stars picked up no fewer than 10 medals at Rio 2016 – including four golds. Amongst the north African country’s Paralympic success stories were double gold medallists Raoua Tlili, who won the shot put and discus F41, and Maroua Ibrahmi, winner in the shot put and club throw F32. The pair also won on home turf earlier in the year at the Tunis Grand Prix.

3. Shot Putter Davies cements place at the top

British thrower Aled Davies turned his Paralympic shot put bronze medal from London 2012 into gold at Rio 2016. The Welshman started the year as double world champion and maintained that winning form at June’s European Championships with a discus F42 world record too. He improved his own shot put world record at May’s Grand Prix in Arizona and won the Paralympic title over one metre clear of his rivals.

4. Blair the new man in the discus F44

US thrower David Blair became the man to beat in the discus F44 as he smashed 2012 Paralympic champion Jeremy Campbell’s world record at the Arizona Grand Prix in May. Blair only returned to the sport in 2015 after a 16-year-break from track and field, but he’s looked at home in the discus cage this year, winning at the US Paralympic Trials and the London Grand Prix Final in July before sealing Paralympic gold with yet another world record.

5. The long jump T42 just keeps get better

The men’s long jump T42 proved to be one of the most competitive events of 2016 as the world record changed hands three times and fell five times throughout the season. Japan’s world champion Atsushi Yamamoto, Denmark’s European champion Daniel Wagner and Germany’s Heinrich Popow all took their turn at the top of the rankings, but it was Popow who struck Paralympic gold in Rio.

6. Chinese strength in field events

China topped the Para athletics medals table at Rio 2016 and their continued strength out in the field played a vital part of that success, with 14 gold medals. Liangmin Zhang (discus F11), Liwan Yang (shot put F54), Juan Yao (discus F44) and Na Mi (discus F38) are all reigning world and Paralympic champions who also won four years ago in London.

7. Low and le Fur keep World Championship momentum going

Vanessa Low (T42) of Germany and Marie-Amelie le Fur (T44) of France both won world long jump titles for the first time last year, both with world record leaps. Impressively, they maintained that momentum in 2016. Low won the European T42-44 title a month after victory at the Arizona Grand Prix in the USA then, like le Fur, won Paralympic gold with a new world record.

8. Grosseto European Championships the scene of multiple world records

Field event Para athletes were certainly in form this year - there were 17 world records out in the field at Grosseto 2016 – 14 more than the number achieved in Swansea, Great Britain, two years previously. There were 24 new European records – compared to eight set at the previous European Championships.

9. Patience pays off for javelin throwers

This year demonstrated that patience is a virtue in javelin throwing, with a number of competitors putting near misses and setbacks behind them to win Paralympic gold. Greek thrower Manolis Stefanoudakis (F54) won bronze four years ago, Briton Hollie Arnold (F46) finished fifth in London after an injury-ridden Beijing Games. Colombian Mauricio Valencia’s (F34) narrowly missed out on world gold in 2015. South African Reinhardt Hamman (F38) quit the sport after failing to qualify for the 2008 Games. All finished top of the podium at Rio 2016.

10. Family double act for Brazilian long jumpers

The Costa de Oliveira family celebrated Paralympic gold not once but twice at Rio 2016 as first Ricardo won men’s long jump T11 gold then his sister Silvania followed up eight days later with victory in the women’s long jump T11. It was a rare sibling success – Tatyana McFadden and her sister Hannah both compete in the T54 class but Hannah finished outside the medals in Rio; the Biacsi sisters Ilona and Bernadett finished third and fourth respectively in the 1,500m T20 at London 2012.

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