The final Grand Prix of the 2015 IPC Athletics series takes place this weekend (19-21 June) in Berlin, Germany, with around 400 athletes from 40 countries set to take part at the three-day event.
A record eight meetings have so far taken place around the world as part of the Grand Prix series, with the Grand Prix Final taking place in London, Great Britain, on 26 July.
The Berlin event, which takes place at the city’s Friedrich Ludwig Jahn Sports Park, will provide many athletes from around the world with a vital opportunity to face their key rivals as October’s IPC Athletics World Championships draw ever closer.
Here are 10 events to follow:
Men’s 100m T12
South Africa’s Jonathan Ntutu tops the world rankings this year after running 11.10 on home soil two months ago, and he won again last week in Grosseto, Italy. Two talented Russians will provide tough competition this week – Paralympic champion Fedor Trikolich and world and European silver medallist Artem Loginov. Germany’s Thomas Ulbricht, European champion over 400m, will hope to impress the home crowds.
Men’s 100m T36
Russia’s Evgenii Shvetcov is the man to beat in this race. The reigning Paralympic, world and European champion will be hoping to sprint straight to the top of the 2015 world rankings as he takes on his first IPC Grand Prix this year. Hoping to upset the form book is Great Britain’s Graeme Ballard, silver medallist behind Shvetcov at London 2012 and again at last year’s European Championships. He sits second in the rankings with a best of 12.43 this year.
Men’s 100m T44
All eyes will be on young German star Felix Streng, who broke the 11 second barrier for the first time at a meeting in Leverkusen recently, where he clocked 10.97. The 20-year-old will be hoping to go one better than his second place finish here last year as he takes on a field including the Netherlands’ Ronald Hertog and Brazil’s Renato Nunes da Cruz.
Men’s 200m T47
All three medallists from last year’s European Championships will go head-to-head once more. Poland’s Michal Mateusz Derus – the world champion over 100m – clinched European gold in Wales ahead of Alexey Kotlov and Vadim Trunov, the Russian duo who clinched silver and bronze respectively. Can Derus maintain his winning ways this time around?
Men’s Long jump T44
Home favourite and reigning Paralympic, world and European champion Markus Rehm recently smashed his own long jump T44 world record, leaping 8.29m in Barcelona last month. That mark would have won him silver at the London 2012 Olympic Games. The 26-year-old dominates this event and will surely prove a tough act to follow; the question on everyone’s lips is how far can he jump this time?
Also keep an eye out for Denmark’s T42 jumper Daniel Jorgensen who is in exceptional form having broken the world record twice already this month.
Men’s Shot Put F42
Great Britain’s Aled Davies is in terrific form this year, and extended his own world record when he threw 15.93m at February’s British Indoor Championships. He set a new personal best of 15.97m in Bedford, Great Britain, last month and is hoping for another impressive performance in Berlin as he looks to break the 16 metre mark. A stellar field including Germany’s world and European silver medallist Frank Tinnemeier, South Africa’s world finalist Tyrone Pillay and Luxemburg’s European discus silver medallist Tom Habscheid could push him all the way.
Women’s 100m T13
Fresh from victory at the Grand Prix in Grosseto, Italy, last week, where she ran 12.42 into a strong headwind, South Africa’s Ilse Hayes heads to Berlin as the fastest female para-athlete in the world. The 29-year-old raced in to the record books when she clocked 11.89 seconds at April’s Grand Prix in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and faces 19-year-olds Janne Sophie Engeleiter of Germany and Russia’s Arina Baranova this weekend.
Women’s 100m T44
Germany’s Irmgard Bensusan secured three silver medals at last year’s European Championships, racing over 100m, 200m and 400m. The 24-year-old takes on all three of those events in Berlin, and in the absence of the Netherlands’ star sprinter and multiple world record holder Marlou van Rhijn, Bensusan will be determined to make her mark on home territory.
Women’s 400m T38
A thrilling head-to-head is on the cards as track rivals Veronica Hipolito and Margarita Goncharova line up once again. The Russian won European gold in what was then a world record time of 1:03.40, whilst Hipolito, who won 200m gold on her international debut at the 2013 World Championships, tops the 2015 world rankings after winning the Sao Paulo Grand Prix in 1:04.37. The Brazilian teenager also enjoyed a hat trick of wins here last year.
Women’s Long jump T42
Two women share the long jump T42 world record – and both line up in Berlin this weekend. Home favourite and European champion Vanessa Low broke her own world record when she jumped 4.60m at last summer’s Grand Prix Final – less than nine months later Italy’s world champion Martina Caironi equalled that mark at a meeting in Spain; she also recently broke both her own 100m and 200m T42 world records. Expect a nail biting competition.
Rights free images
On Saturday, a number of rights free images will be available from the Berlin Grand Prix from Getty Images.
Free broadcast footage
On Saturday IPC Athletics will be producing the following package available free-of-charge to all broadcasters which will include race footage and athlete interviews:
• 1 x ready to broadcast piece with English and German voiceover (around 5 min)
• 1 x newsfeed (around 5 min)
To receive the footage please e-email, IPC Broadcast Manager Jose Manuel Dominguez at [email protected] Requests for broadcast interviews can also be made.