Paris 23: Fleur Jong completes her gold collection

Dutch star takes her first long jump world title while Catherine Debrunner picks gold in her return to the city where she won the Laureus Awards 10 Jul 2023
Three female athletes with prosthetic legs jumping
Fleur Jong (centre) celebrating her gold medal with compatriot Marlene van Gansewinkel and Japan's Maya Nakanishi (left)
ⒸMarta Gorczynska/World Para Athletics
By Mary Barber| For World Para Athletics

The action kicked off on the third day of the Paris 2023 World Para Athletics Championships with Netherlands’ Fleur Jong leaping into the record books and Switzerland’s Catherine DeBrunner giving a masterclass in T54 wheelchair racing on Monday. (July 10).

On a morning of eight finals, with six of them for women, Jong added the world title to her reigning Paralympic and European crowns. It was the only medal missing from her collection and she jumped with delight when she landed in 6.28m to set a championships record.

But the 27-year-old did not have best of starts at the Charlety Stadium in the French capital. The world record holder was the last to register a mark with two early misses. She needed to land her third jump, which she did in style, setting a championships record of 6.17m, and then extending it in her fifth jump.

An elated Jong said after the final: “It feels amazing. It was really nerve-wracking of course, after two fails. But then I thought ‘okay, if I want to be a real champion, I have to get this done’.”

Her nearest rival was compatriot Marlene van Gansweinkel, the silver medallist at the World Championships in Dubai 2019 and Paralympic bronze medallist at Tokyo 2020. She recorded 5.40m with Japan’s reigning world champion, Maya Nakanishi, finishing third (5.38m).

With one World Championship gold under her belt, Jong is looking ahead to her next event in Paris, the 100m T64 final on Thursday (July 13). “I’m very nervous already for the 100m, I have to admit,” she said. “But I came here to complete the set for the long jump. I have only one [gold] medal ever in the 100m [at the European Championships in Bydgoszcz 2021], so I have a lot to gain. Let’s see what happens.”

Over on the track Switzerland’s Debrunner’s brilliant performance in the women’s 5000m T54 race was also among the highlights of the competition.

Her World Championships win in the French capital was made even more special because earlier this year she received the prestigious Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year Disability Award in Paris.

The 28-year-old won the award for dominating both the road and track in her successful 2022 season. And she didn’t disappoint in the 5000m T54 when she crossed the line first ahead of a vastly experienced field in a championships record of 11:07.22. 

Her compatriot Manuela Schaer was right behind to take silver (11:07.49). USA’s Paralympic champion Susannah Scaroni could not convert the bronze medal she won in Dubai 2019 and came in third (11:09.14). But it was a tough battle throughout the race with places changing at the front of the pack.

“My strategy was initially something else, but I switched it really fast because I realised that they started really fast,” said Debrunner after the race. 

“I thought, let’s go behind Manuela [Schaer of Switzerland] because she’s one of the best in the field and then Susannah [Scaroni from USA] made the speed really high. So, it was a really tough race because it was slow-fast-slow-fast.”

There had been a dramatic moment early in the race when one of the favourites, Australia’s Madison de Rozario, the silver medallist from four years ago, pulled out.


Epic 5000m battle

There was also an epic battle in the men’s 5000m T13 when Morocco’s Paralympic gold medallist Yassine Ouhdadi El Ataby overtook Australia’s reigning world champion Jaryd Clifford in the last 50m to win in 15:16.97.

The 28-year-old silver medallist in Dubai 2019 had timed his moment to kick for home to perfection. He left behind a disappointed Clifford who trailed in second in 15:18.23. Canada’s Guillaume Ouellet took home the bronze in 15:22.85.

“I’m the happiest person in the world right now,” said a delighted Ouhdadi. “I know how the finish in the World Championships are. I was expecting that pace in the beginning, so I knew I had to keep energy for the final and then give everything.”

Kenya’s Nancy Koech also got her tactics spot on when she overtook South Africa’s Louzanne Coetzee on the home straight in the women’s 1500m T11 to set a championship record in 4:46.55. Coetzee had been leading for most of the race, and was 10m ahead with 200m to go, when Koech powered for the finish line. It was a clean sweep for Africa with Koech’s compatriot Mary Njoroge finishing in third (4:49.16).

In the women’s 1500m T13 Morocco’s Fatima Ezzahra El Idrissi defended her World Championship title with a championships record of 4:22.15. The 27-year-old pulled off the final bend to overtake US’s Liza Corso, the Paralympic silver medallist, who was close on her heels to set another championships record in 4:22.50. 

There was also a season’s best for bronze medallist Tunisia’s Somaya Bousaid in 4:30.98. Ireland’s European champion Greta Streimikyte crossed the line in fourth to set an area record of 4:33.27.

Out on the field, China’s Yuping Zhao asserted her dominance in the women’s javelin F13. The reigning world champion and Paralympic silver medallist was in a class of her own when she set a season’s best of 45.82m.

Ukraine’s Paralympic champion Nozimakhon Kayumova also set a season’s best to take home silver in 40.78m with Austria’s Natalija Eder in bronze (34.63m).

There were also medals for Ukraine in the men’s shot put F12 with reigning world champion Roman Danyliuk successfully defending his title and setting a championship record in 16.73m. His compatriot Volodymyr Ponomarenko won silver in 15.92m and Uzbekistan’s Elbek Sultonov was third. The bronze medallist at Tokyo 2020 and Dubai 2019 recorded 15.94m.

Algeria’s four-time women’s discus F57 world champion Saifi Nassima added another title to her impressive medal haul. The 34-year-old set a season’s best to finish in 34.22m ahead of Paralympic champion Mokhigul Khamdamova from Uzbekistan who also recorded a season’s best of 30.51m. Mexico’s Floralia Estrada took home bronze and an area record in 30.49m.

The action resumes at 6:30PM (Central European Summer Time) with Monday's evening session. All medallists, records and results can be found here

The Paris 23 Para Athletics World Championships will be streamed live on World Para Athletics Facebook page with geo-blocking restrictions in certain territories.

More information is available here.