Paris 23: Wednesday's action sees Manu crowned new king of the blade runners

Italian takes world by storm one year before the Games in the French capital, Brazil's Gomes breaks second world record with second gold of the day 12 Jul 2023
Three male blade runners in a Para athletics race
Italian sprinter Maxcel Amo Manu (left) takes gold in his World Championships debut at the Charlety Stadium
ⒸMarta Gorczynska/World Para Athletics
By Mary Barber | For World Para Athletics

Italy’s Maxcel Amo Manu was crowned the king of the blade runners in an epic battle over 100m at the Paris 23 World Para Athletics Championships on Wednesday (12 July).

On a warm evening in the French capital that saw 12 titles handed out at the Charlety Stadium, the sprint superstar fought off the fastest Para athletes on the planet in the T64 class to win gold in 10.71.

The 31-year-old’s brilliant achievement was among the highlights of the session, which also included Brazil’s Elizabeth Rodrigues winning her second title and another world record on day five in the women’s discus F53. In all, Brazil celebrated five gold medals – with three during the evening - although the final victory won by Felipe Gomes broke the hearts of the French fans cheering on the home favourite Timothee Adolphe in the men’s 400m T11. China’s Lijua Zou also set a world record in the women’s shot put F34 in the Charlety Stadium.

There was a dramatic build-up to the 100m T64. Before the start Manu needed time to sort out an issue with his prosthetic leg. There was then a false start before the race got underway. Costa Rica’s Sherman Gitty was first off the blocks, but Manu quickly accelerated past the rest of the field to cross the line in 10.71. 

The 31-year-old, who will be the one to watch at next year’s Paralympic Games in the French capital, was elated after his win. “Mamma mia, how exciting. I feel a mix of emotions, I'm very happy,” he said.

“I dedicate this victory to all people in difficulty, not only amputees, but all those in difficulty who don't know how to get out of it. You have to try, try, try because it happened to me too and now, I'm world champion. I still cannot believe it. Never give up."

He said he enjoyed the fact that his first name sounded similar to the 100m Olympic champion Marcell Jacobs. “I like this comparison because I learned certain things just by watching him. I hope I too can be an inspiration to others”.

Gitty, the silver medallist in Tokyo 2020, landed in 10.79 with Germany’s reigning Paralympic champion, Felix Streng, taking home bronze (10.85). His teammate and world champion in the Dubai edition in 2019, Johannes Floors, was edged out of the medals in fourth.

First golds for Norway, South Africa

There were three men’s 100m races during the session. Norway’s Salum Kashafali, a Paralympic, world and European champion, stormed to victory in the T13 category in 10.45 to set a championship record.

There were jubiliant scenes at the end of the men’s T13 race when Norway’s Salum Kashafali, a Paralympic, world and European champion, won his second world title. The 29-year-old, who fled the Democratic Republic of Congo with his family as a child to Norway, clocked a championship record of 10.45. Brazil’s Fabricio Barros landed next in 10.82 followed by Thailand’s Dammunee Jakkarin who set a new Asian record in 10.86.

South Africa’s Mpumelelo Mhlongo also left his mark on the T44 race, with a season’s best time of 11.46. China’s reigning Paralympic and world champion Yiting Shi successfully defended her title for the third time in the women’s 100m T36. 

Brazil’s Rodrigues was in outstanding form all day. Fresh from winning the women’s shot put F54 in the morning and setting a world record, the 58-year-old switched to the discus F53. The reigning world champion retained her title and set another world record in 17.12m. 

She beat off a challenge from USA’s Cassie Mitchell who won silver with her 14.24-metre throw, which set a championship record. Ukraine’s Zoia Ovsii set a season’s best in 14.10m.

China’s Paralympic and world champion Lijuan Zou won the women’s shot put F34 and set a new world record in 9.25. Poland’s Lucyna Kornoby, the silver medallist in Tokyo 2020, came second in 8.49. 

There was huge excitement in the stadium ahead of the final race of the night in the men’s 400m T11. The crowd were cheering for Adolphe and his teammate Gauthier Makunda but they were no match for the Brazilian veteran Gomes. The PanAm champion stormed around the track with his guide Jonas de Lima Silva to finish in a season’s best time of 51.00. Spain’s Gerard Descarrega overtook Adolphe on the line to win silver in 51.18 with the French athlete taking bronze in 51.21. 

Gomes said afterwards: “We are super happy for all we have accomplished here. Sometimes I try things out of my head but here I decided to fully follow Jonas’ [Lima Silva, his guide] guidance. He got injured in the heats but he still managed to take us to this win so I could not be happier today.”

It was also a golden night for his compatriot Ricardo Gomes who collected his second medal of the Championships in the men’s 200m T37 - he won the 100m T37 earlier in the week. He powered through the field to hit the line first in a championship record of 11.21. His teammate Christian Luiz Da Costa followed behind in 23.30. Indonesia’s Saptoyogo Purnomo set a season’s best in 23.39.

Elsewhere on the track, Spain’s Adriaratou Iglesias upgraded the silver medal she won earlier this week in the women’s 100m T13, to a gold in the 200m T13. The 24-year-old crossed the line and set a season’s best in 24.86. Canada’s Bianca Borgella took the silver in a lifetime best of 25.00 and USA’s Erin Kerkhoff in bronze. 

The men’s 200m T35 race was won by reigning world champion Ukraine’s Ihor Tsvietov. The silver medallist at Tokyo 2020 ran a season’s best time of 23.30. There was daylight between him and the rest of the field as he surged to the line. Argentina’s Hernan Barreto was two seconds behind in 25.37, which was an American record. Brazil’s Fabio Bordignon set a lifetime best of 25.40 when he came in third.

Iran’s Paralympic and world champion Mahdi Olad stayed at the top of the leaderboard in the men’s shot put F11 after throwing 13.79. Brazil’s Alessandro Da Silva claimed the silver in 13.43.

Uzbekistan’s Izzat Turgonov won the men’s long jump T36 and set a championship record in 5.75m. New Zealand’s Will Stedman collected another silver medal of the week when he jumped 5.71m. He won silver in the men’s 400m T36.

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

Paris 23 medallists, records and results are available here.