Great Britain’s Richard Whitehead showed he is in sensational form for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games on Friday (8 July) by breaking his own 200m T42 world record and lowering his 100m personal best.
Racing in Leverkusen, Germany, with a 1.1m/s tailwind, the Paralympic and world champion clocked 23.46 seconds over the 200m to lower his previous record of 24.10 set at last year’s World Championships in Doha, Qatar.
Earlier in the 100m heats, Whitehead was denied a world record due to a tailwind of 2.4m/s. His time of 12.06 was 0.05 seconds faster than the current world record which is currently held by Germany’s Heinrich Popow. In the final however, he did clock a legal 12.13 to set a new personal best.
In addition to maintaining his 100m T42 world record, Popow had reasonable to be cheerful at he became the latest athlete this year to break the men’s long jump T42 world record. The 32-year-old’s second round effort of 6.72m added 2cm to the previous best set by Denmark’s Daniel Wagner at last month’s European Championships in Grosseto, Italy.
Popow was one of three German athletes to break world records at Friday’s meet.
Timor Huseni leapt 1.73m to add 5cm to the high jump T45 world record. The 21-year-old broke fellow German Matthias Berg’s record which had stood for more than 12 years.
European champion Birgit Kober also improved her own shot put F36 world record set last month by 12cm with a throw of 11.32m.
Elsewhere, South Africa’s Ilse Hayes looked to be hitting form as she went under 12 seconds twice in the women’s 100m. The T13 sprinter’s best time of the day was 11.97 seconds with a tailwind on 0.9m/s.
In the battle of the T44 sprinters, Germany’s European silver medallist Flexi Streng (10.95) got the better of South Africa’s London 2012 bronze medallist Arnu Fourie (11.01).
Many of the athletes in Leverkusen will now head to Berlin for the ninth IPC Athletics Grand Prix meeting of the season. Around 430 athletes from 58 countries will compete in the German capital between 16-17 July.