Rieti Grand Prix: Five talking points

Key meeting for European and Asian athletes ahead of continental Champs 22 May 2018
Short statured female discus thrower competing
Ireland’s Niamh McCarthy smashed the European record in the women’s discus F41 at the Rieti Grand Prix
ⒸRieti Grand Prix LOC

The 2018 World Para Athletics Grand Prix series landed in Europe last weekend with the Rieti Grand Prix in Italy from 18-20 May.

Here are five headlines rounding up the action.

European record for McCarthy

Paralympic and world silver medallist Niamh McCarthy smashed the European record in the women’s discus F41, adding nearly 1.5m on to her previous best with a throw of 28.51m. The Irish thrower will be determined to win her first major title at August’s European Championships in Berlin, Germany.

Romly leaps to victory as Para athletes look ahead to 2018 Asian Para Games

Malaysia’s Paralympic and world champion Abdul Latif Romly (long jump T20) was one of a number of Para athletes out to make their mark ahead of October’s Asian Para Games. Romly’s teammates Mohamad Ishak (long jump T12) and Mohamad Puzi (100m T36) also impressed, as did Qatar’s Paralympic and world silver medallist Sara Masoud (shot put F33) and Incheon 2014 bronze medallist Mohammed Al Kubaisi (100m T34).

Europeans in form with Berlin 2018 on the horizon

Finland’s Henry Manni (T34 track) has three titles to defend at the Berlin 2018 European Championships and he got his season off to a flying start with wins in Rieti. Denmark’s European silver medallist Ronni Jensen (discus F37), Luxembourg’s European silver medallist Tom Habscheid (discus F63) Sweden’s European champion Per Jonsson (long jump T13) and his teammate Jeffrey Ige (shot put F20), also notched up important victories. Local favourite and European champion Oney Tapia – who won Italian television’s ‘Dancing with the Stars’ last year – threw a world lead in the discus F11.

Paralympic champions continue to dominate

South African Paralympic gold medallists Reinhardt Hamman (javelin F38) and Hilton Langenhoven (long jump T12) both enjoyed wins in Rieti, as did Colombia’s Mauricio Valencia – in fact, the Paralympic and world champion scored a hat trick of wins in the Italian city, finishing top in the shot put, discus and javelin F34.

Irish Para athletes are smiling

Niamh McCarthy wasn’t the only Irish Para athlete who impressed - Orla Barry (discus F57) and Noelle Lenihan (discus F38) both have European titles to defend this summer and both were in winning form in Italy. Ireland’s Para athletes looked great on the track too with wins for David Leavy (1,500m T38), Orla Comerford (100m T13) and European bronze medallist Greta Streimikyte (1,500m T13).