Belgium’s Peter Genyn smashed his second world record in three days as the sun continued to shine at the Nottwil Grand Prix on Sunday (27 May), the final day of competition in Switzerland.
Racing in the 400m T51, Genyn took nearly a second off his previous best as he crossed the line in 1:17.21, and the 41-year-old was suitably delighted.
“It feels great, it shows the form that I am at, and it’s a great feeling. I’m very pleased with it,” said Genyn, who also broke the 100m T51 world record on Friday (25 May).
The Paralympic and world champion is now looking forward to August’s European Championships, having won double gold two years ago.
“It’s been a very important Grand Prix for me, it’s going to make my competitors look at what I can do and I definitely have the mental advantage going into the Europeans,” he added.
There was a European record for Great Britain’s Richard Chiassaro who looked in superb form with a clear victory in the men’s 400m T54.
“It went perfectly, it was a massive personal best for me, so I’m happy with that,” said the world bronze medallist, who clocked 45.26.
“We’ve been working on getting off the line a bit quicker with the hard gloves and my top speed is really good at the moment – I’m really able to hold it as well. It’s paid off. The big guys are here so you’ve got to turn up to race.”
Fellow Briton Hannah Cockroft (57.89) notched up her fourth win of the meeting with a straightforward win in the 400m T34, while the UAE’s Mohamed Alhammadi (51.48) finished first in the men’s event.
“I’ve done some competitions already this season, but maybe not so good, but now I think everything is good in Switzerland. I have good times, good racing, and I see what problems I have and need to change in the future,” said Alhammadi.
US star Tatyana McFadden (54.35) won the women’s 400m T54 ahead of local favourite Manuela Schaer.
“I love the 400m, it’s one of my favourite events and it’s a perfect race for where we are in our training right now,” said the multiple Paralympic and world champion.
“We are making our transition from the marathons to the track so this has been my first time on the track. It’s been a tough transition but it’s good to come here with good competition and hit the times we need to hit in order to stay on the national team.”
Turkey’s Hamide Kurt (56.42) also showed terrific form as she finished well clear of the field in the women’s 400m T53 and Thailand’s current world number one Paeyo Ponsakorn (48.58) won the men’s race.
There were 400m wins too for Colombia’s Dixon Hooker Velasquez (53.36) in the men’s T38; Japan’s Tomoki Sato (56.68) in the men’s T52; China’s Gao Kun (1:08.38) in the men’s T33 and Great Britain’s Yasmin Somers (1:33.54) in the women’s T33.
Australia's De Rozario completes hat trick
Australia’s Madison de Rozario completed a superb hat trick of wins on the Swiss track with victory in the 5,000m T54 in the morning session.
The 24-year-old, who won the 5,000m T54 world title last year, was up against a typically strong field including US duo McFadden and Susannah Scaroni as well as Schaer, and the four Para athletes quickly pulled clear from the rest of the field.
It was the Australian who took to the front in the final few laps, but coming round the final bend even de Rozario wasn’t sure she had done enough.
“I definitely thought I was going to get caught coming around (the last 200m) as these girls are all incredibly strong, but I managed to hold off to the line so I’m really happy with that race,” said de Rozario, who beat the same Para athletes in the 1,500m 24 hours earlier.
De Rozario crossed the line in 11:22.35 with Schaer (11:22.56) second and Scaroni (11:22.58) in third.
The T53 racer, who is coached by Australia’s former great Louise Sauvage, has been a regular face at the top of the podium this year, winning double gold at the Commonwealth Games as well as taking first place at the London Marathon.
Still, it’s clear her success has yet to fully sink in.
“It’s been so surreal. There was a lot of focus going in to the Commonwealth Games and that definitely took up all of my thoughts for the first part of the year.
“Then to refocus on the London Marathon – that itself was a massive surprise and I’ve definitely hit a good patch of form at the moment. I’m really hoping we can stretch it out a bit longer,” she added.
Thailand’s Rawat Tana (10:05.60) held off local star Marcel Hug (10:05.74) in the final men’s 5,000m T54 in a tactical race which saw the main contenders – Tana, his teammate Prawat Wahoram, Hug, USA’s Daniel Romanchuk and Josh George and Frenchman Julien Casoli – unwilling to take the race on at the front.
In the end it was Tana who led for the final few laps, with Hug tucked in ready to pounce on the track he knows so well.
But Tana, who won silver behind Hug over 12.5 laps at the London 2017 World Championships, was having none of it and held on to take the win ahead of his Swiss rival with Wahoram (10:05.95) third.
China’s Yong Zhang (9:58.12) won the first of the two T53/54 heats. The 26-year-old had been part of a breakaway group including Canada’s Brent Lakatos and Thailand’s Putharet Khongrak.
Lakatos had put in the early work then in the latter stages of the race the trio shared out the lead, but the effort had clearly taken its toll on the Canadian who couldn’t quite match the pace of Zhang in the final lap. Khongrak (9:59.00) claimed second place.
Belgium’s Matthias Boonen (17:22.32) won the men’s 5,000m T13, the first event out on the track.
Out in the field, Poland’s Joanna Hantzschel won the shot put F33 with a best of 4.80m; Colombia’s current world number one in the F55 class, Erica Maria Castano Salazar, threw a best of 6.63m and the Netherland’s Lara Baars managed 19.69m in the discus F40.
Germany’s F12 Para athlete Thomas Ulbricht threw the javelin 44.37m; while Singapore’s F40 thrower Muhammad Noordin managed 26.02m.
In the long jump, there were wins for Dutchman Ronald Hertog (6.80m) in the T64 class; French T37 Para athlete Valentin Bertrand (5.42m) and Turkey’s Akin Gokhan (5.33m) in the T46 class.
Full results can be found here
The World Para Athletics Grand Prix series continues in Paris France from 14-15 June.