The 2016 IPC Athletics Grand Prix season is fast nearing a conclusion with the penultimate Grand Prix of the year taking place in Berlin, Germany, on 16 and 17 July.
Around 430 athletes from 58 countries will line up at the two day meeting, supported by international partner Allianz, hoping to make a big impression just weeks away from the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games in September.
Here are some of the key events to look out for:
Men’s 100m T11
Reigning world champion and world record holder David Brown secured his place on the US team bound for Rio when he won the 100m, 200m and 400m T11 sprints at the US Paralympic Trials two weeks ago. The 23-year-old faces his compatriot Lex Gillette, the world long jump champion, as well as Namibia’s Ananias Shikongo, world silver medallist in the 200m T11 at Doha 2015 – a race in which Brown finished fourth. Brown and Shikongo also race over 200m in Berlin.
Men’s 200m T12
Three of the world’s top 10 line up in Berlin - Germany’s Thomas Ulbricht, Mexico’s Jorge Gonzalez Sauceda and South Africa’s Ndodomzi Ntutu are all sub-23 second sprinters - Ntutu won world silver last year. A close race will surely be on the cards this weekend. Watch out too for the 400m T12 world champion, Portugal’s Luis Goncalves, as well as Algeria’s Djamil Nasser.
Men’s 400m T44
All three medallists from Doha 2015 line up in the men’s 400m T44 - Germany’s David Behre, the USA’s Hunter Woodhall and Behre’s teammate Johannes Floors. While Behre won global gold in Qatar, it was Floors who topped the podium at last month’s European Championships. Woodhall meanwhile heads up the T43 world rankings after clocking 47.63 in Utah, USA, in May. This weekend’s race could give a real indication of form – and medal prospects – going in to the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
Men’s long jump T42
Expect an enthralling rivalry between Germany’s current world record holder Heinrich Popow and Japan’s two-time world champion Atsushi Yamamoto in the men’s long jump T42. Both have broken the world record this year – but it’s Popow who currently leads the way after leaping a phenomenal 6.72m just one week ago.
Men’s shot put F36
A number of reigning world champions take to the field in Berlin this weekend, including Germany’s Sebastian Dietz, who won shot put F36 world gold last October before adding a European silver medal to his collection in June. The 31-year-old won gold in the discus at the last Paralympic Games four years ago and will no doubt be hoping for a strong performance on home soil with Rio 2016 on the horizon.
Women’s 100m T42
Italy’s Martina Caironi takes on the 100m as well as the long jump T42 in Berlin this weekend, having returned from injury to clinch the 100m T42 European title last month. The 26-year-old broke the 15 second barrier on her way to world gold last year and will start as favourite in the sprint event as she looks to secure her second consecutive Paralympic title at Rio 2016.
Women’s 400m T13
South Africa’s double world champion Ilse Hayes heads the field in the women’s 400m T13. The 30-year-old will compete in the 100m and 400m at Rio 2016 and this weekend’s race in Berlin provides Hayes, who won world gold over 100m and 200m last year, with a vital opportunity to fine tune her performance over one lap. Lining up against Hayes are three other Para athletes including US sprinter Kym Crosby, who won world 100m bronze and 200m silver behind the South African in Doha, Qatar.
Women’s long jump T44
All eyes will be on French world champion Marie-Amelie le Fur as she looks to lay down her marker ahead of the Rio Games. Le Fur set a new world record mark of 5.74m on her way to global gold last year – while Great Britain’s Stef Reid missed out through injury. Reid is back with a bang this year however, recording a world lead 5.78m earlier this month. Can le Fur reply with a big performance in Berlin? The 27-year-old also races in the 100m and 200m this weekend.
Women’s club throw F51
The USA’s Rachael Morrison has only been competing since 2014 but there’s no stopping the 29-year-old who won world club throw silver last year behind Great Britain’s Jo Butterfield. The American also contests the discus throw in Berlin, having won her first global title in Doha, Qatar, with a world record throw of 12.86m in that event. She tops the rankings this year with a throw of 13.56m last month.
Women’s discus throw F38
The world’s top three throwers line up in Berlin – Ireland’s young talent Noelle Lenihan heads up the rankings after throwing a world record 32.14m to win gold at the European Championships in June – adding to the world silver medal she won at Doha 2015. Canadians Renee Foessel and Jennifer Brown are world ranked second and third respectively and will also be hoping to make their mark out in the field as Rio 2016 draws ever closer.
Rights free broadcast footage
Rights free broadcast footage featuring a number of Saturday’s races will be available from the Agence France-Presse (AFP) Forum on Saturday evening. For further information, please contact the IPC’s Broadcasting Manager Sascha.Beck@paralympic.org