Two world records fell and one was equalled on the track on the second day of competition (Saturday 26 May) at the Nottwil Grand Prix in Switzerland.
The men’s 100m T34 record was the first to go under the clear blue skies as Australian Rheed McCracken took 0.12 seconds off his own world record set in nearby Arbon last year.
The 21-year-old sped out of the blocks and quickly took control at the front, speeding home in 14.80 seconds.
“You know I really surprised myself actually with that one,” said the Paralympic and world silver medallist. “I was hoping to go fast today but I wasn’t really expecting that to be honest.
“After the 200m yesterday I kind of felt that there was an opportunity to go quick here in the 100m and I woke up feeling really good. As soon as the gun went I felt comfortable in the first 15 pushes.”
McCracken was barely off the track when the competitors lined up for the next race – the men’s T51, featuring Belgium’s Paralympic and world champion Peter Genyn and his great rival from Finland, Toni Piispanen, Paralympic gold medallist at London 2012.
Genyn had already taken Piispanen’s three-year-old world record earlier this month, and he proved that had been no fluke as he knocked a further 0.34 seconds off, crossing the line in 20.07.
“It feels great, it proves the form that I thought I had and it just shows we are on the right track. We changed the training from last year and it’s paying off, it’s paying off big,” said Genyn, who is now focussed on defending his European titles in Berlin, Germany, this summer.
“I knew Toni was going to be good so I was a little bit worried, but I think the pressure is on him now. I think I proved myself, now it’s up to him.”
The afternoon session saw another Australian, Madison de Rozario, equal the world record in the women’s 1,500m T53/54.
De Rozario has been in terrific form this year, winning double Commonwealth gold as well as the London marathon, and she added to her 800m T53 win on Friday (25 May) with a superb victory in the women’s 1,500m T54.
Racing in a breakaway pack which included US duo Tatyana McFadden and Susannah Scaroni as well as local favourite Manuela Schaer, de Rozario underlined her world-class credentials as she crossed the line first in 3:13.27, equalling McFadden’s world record set in Arbon in 2015.
“I was just so lucky that I had a bit more to come around (the final 200m) but the girls are so strong right now it’s always such a pleasure racing them,” said the 24-year-old, who won 5,000m T54 gold at London 2017.
There’s no doubt de Rozario is fast becoming a thorn in the side of the top T54 racers but it’s a situation she’s still getting used to.
“It’s a strange feeling, for so many years these girls have been so amazing and they’ve been athletes I’ve been looking up to for years. To be up there with them is kind of a surreal feeling,” she added.
Switzerland’s Manuela Schaer came through for second place, clocking a new European record of 3:14.10 in the process.
Great Britain’s Martin Pistorius also set a new European record in the men’s 1,500m T33, clocking 4:25.84.
Cockroft continues to dominate
Back to the sprints and Great Britain’s five-time Paralympic champion Hannah Cockroft (17.60) notched up her third win in two days, pushing hard with her head tucked distinctively low to take a convincing win in the women’s 100m T34.
Dutchman Kenny van Weeghel chased Finland’s world and Paralympic champion Leo Pekka Tahti right to the line in a thrilling men’s 100m T54, and the pair were awarded the same time of 14.13.
There was further success for the Netherlands as Ronald Hertog (11.59) made it two wins out of two, adding the 100m T64 to his win over 200m a day earlier; it was a similar story T64 Para athlete Marlene van Gansewinkel (12.95) who was suitably delighted with her performance.
“Ten metres before the finish line I knew this was going to be my best race until now and that I got under 13 seconds was just amazing,” said the 23-year-old.
Thailand’s Paralympic champion Pongaskorn Paeyo (14.41) won the men’s 100m T53, Bermuda’s Jessica Lewis (16.78) was the fastest in the women’s equivalent, Colombia’s Dixon Hooker Velasquez (11.69) won the 100m T38 and Turkey’s T54 sprinter Zubeyde Supurgeci (16.13) also completed a sprint double on day two.
Silver Bullet back on track
Swiss world and Paralympic champion Marcel Hug delighted the home crowds as he claimed victory in the final heat of the men’s 1,500m T54 in the afternoon session.
Hug was up against a tough field, including Canadian world record holder Brent Lakatos, Tunisia’s man-of-the-moment Yassine Gharbi and USA’s impressive young talent Daniel Romanchuk, and he was made to work hard as Romanchuk took up the pace at the gun – just like he had done a day earlier in the 800m.
But with one lap to go Hug had claimed the inside lane, and with Romanchuk racing wide he looked in control.
Sure enough, the Silver Bullet found another gear with 200m remaining, holding off his rivals as he crossed the line ahead of Lakatos, who came through for second ahead of Romanchuk.
“I’m never confident until the end, you never know if somebody is coming from behind so fast, but it was good and an advantage to be on the inside,” said Hug.
“I was the lucky one round the bend so it was an advantage for me. Yesterday Daniel was so strong and I think he will also be the one to watch in the future.”
Amongst the winners in the field were Colombia’s Paralympic champion Mauricio Valencia (34.70m) in the javelin F34 and Thailand’s Sakchai Yimanchang (40.53m) in the javelin F57.
The final day of competition takes place on Sunday (27 May) and full results can be found here