Paris 23: Schaefer and Bo set new world records, Hug flies to gold

Swiss Silver Bullet amazes the crowd with impressive performance in the 5000m T54 in an evening sessions with 12 world champions crowned 10 Jul 2023
A male wheelchair racer running in front of the crowd
Marcel Hug took his 11th word title with his triumph in the men's 5000m T54 on Monday in Paris
ⒸFlorent Pervillé/WPA 23 LOC
By Mary Barber| For World Para Athletics

Switzerland’s “Silver Bullet” wheelchair racer Marcel Hug blasted the field away when he shot to victory in the men’s 5000m T54 at the Paris 23 Para Athletics World Championships on Monday evening (10 July).

In an extraordinary display of athleticism and tactics, Hug added to his multiple world titles by knocking more than 44 seconds off the championship record he had set the day before in the heats to cross the line in 9:35.78.

His brilliant performance was among the highlights of a session that saw 12 gold medals handed out at the Charlety Stadium in the French capital. They also included New Zealand’s Lisa Adams defending her title in the women’s shot put F37; Germany’s Leon Schaefer winning gold and setting a world record in his final attempt in the men’s long jump T63 and China’s Qing Bo setting a world record in the men’s club throw F32.

For Hug it was his 11th World Championships title and his second in the men’s 5000m T54, which he last won at the 2013 edition in Lyon. The six-time Paralympic and European champion won silver in the event at Dubai 2019. It was upgraded to gold in outstanding fashion.

The 37-year-old accelerated from the gun to lead the pack for the first three laps but then he slowed down with nine to go. He was playing games with the field to see if anyone was prepared to go with him. 

But he did not want to give his rivals, who were closing in, a free ride, so he upped the pace again and with two laps to go he had stretched the lead to a staggering 300m. By the time he was going into the home straight he was just 60m behind the rest of the field. The crowd cheered as he shot past wearing his distinctive silver helmet.

"That was a special race. I took a risk with the tactic of driving alone for so long. I'm glad it went so well. I just want to thank the crowd for this amazing atmosphere,” Hug said.

The battle was for the remaining two places on the podium with the reigning world champion, Thailand’s Prawat Wahoram, taking silver in 10:15.31 and Great Britain’s Daniel Sidbury in bronze (10:15.44).

In the second 5000m race, the men’s T11, Brazil’s Julio Agripino, who had led from the start, was beaten on the home straight by Japan’s Kenya Karasawa. He crossed the line with his guide Shunya Morishita in a championship record time of 15:05.19. Agripino’s compatriot Yeltsin Jacques took bronze (15:12.37).

Amazing Adams

Off the track, Adams was in a class of her own in the women’s shot put F37. The Paralympic and world champion set a championship record with an impressive throw of 14.84m. China’s Tokyo 2020 bronze medallist, Yingli Li, took silver and her compatriot Na Mi bronze.

After the competition, the New Zealand athlete said: “I just needed to get a safe throw out there and just build on that which I did. We don’t train to finish second you want to come first, and that was the goal.”

It all came down to the wire in the men’s long jump T63 with Germany’s Schaefer overtaking Denmark’s Daniel Wagner on his final attempt to win gold and a world record in 7.25m. Wagner was 22 centimetres behind the Paralympic silver medallist on 7.03m, which was his season’s best. The Netherland’s Joel de Jong came third.

The world record was also broken in the men’s club throw F32 by China’s Bo in 46.60m, which was nearly six metres ahead of his compatriot Li Liu, who finished in second and Algeria’s Ahmed Mehideb in third.

Elsewhere on the field, there was a double victory in the men’s high jump T64 when Jonathan Broom Edward, Great Britain’s Paralympic and world champion, and Poland’s Maciej Lepiato tied to win gold and set season’s bests with 2.05m. India’s Praveen Kumar took bronze.

The crowds also enjoyed thrilling races on the track with USA’s teenage sensation Jaydin Blackwell taking a surprise victory in the men’s 100m T38. Undeterred by the experienced and talented field around him, which included Australia’s eight-time world champion, Evan O’Hanlon, in the next lane, the 19-year-old overtook China’s Paralympic champion Dening Zhu to finish in 10.92. His time was just outside the 10.87 championship record that he had set a day earlier in the heats.

Blackwell, who was making his World Championships debut, dropped to the ground in disbelief before he stood up and cheered with delight. Zhu set a personal best in 11.00 with USA’s three-time Paralympic champion Nick Mayhugh came third in 11.14.

His win was among four 100m races during the evening. Brazil won gold and bronze in the men’s 100m T37. The winner, Ricardo Gomes, broke the championship record that he set 24 hours earlier in 11.21. He had overtaken Tokyo 2020 bronze medallist, Saptoyoga Purnorno from Indonesia, who came second.

In the men’s T12 the USA’s Noah Malone took gold in 10.53. Setting lifetime bests in silver and bronze were Morocco’s Mouncef Bouja and Great Britain’s Zachary Shaw.

There was a photo finish at the end of the women’s 100m T13 with Azerbajain’s Lamiya Valiyeva just landing ahead of Spain’s Paralympic and European champion Adiaratou Iglesias in 11.99. Canada’s Bianca Borga came third.

Day three was rounded off by an impressive win in the last race by Championships debutante Karen Palomeque from Colombia in the women’s 400m T37. She beat the reigning world champion, Ukraine’s Nataliia Kobzar into second and China’s Paralympic champion Fenfen Jiang into bronze when she crossed the line in 1:00.94.

Complete schedule and results, medallists and records can be found here

The Paris 23 Para Athletics World Championships is being streamed live on World Para Athletics website and Facebook page with geo-blocking restrictions in certain territories. More information is available here.