Seven talking points from the IPC Athletics Grand Prix in Nottwil

Find out what four days of competition in Switzerland told us about what we can expect at Rio 2016. 31 May 2016
The Netherlands' Marlou van Rhijn on her way to breaking the 100m T43 world record at the 2016 Nottwil Grand Prix.

The Netherlands' Marlou van Rhijn on her way to breaking the 100m T43 world record at the 2016 Nottwil Grand Prix.

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1.Tatyana McFadden looks in outstanding form

The US T54 racer has made a seamless transition from the marathon circuit to the track. In Nottwil she looked in unbelievable form beating her rivals almost at will. At Rio 2016 she is chasing a record seven gold medals and on this form she stands a great chance of making it. What will please McFadden the most is how well she did over the shorter distances. She set her second fastest time ever over 100m and won her 400m final by three seconds from nearest rival Switzerland’s Manuela Schaer. “She’s human, everyone can be beaten,” was Schaer’s reaction.

2.Brent Lakatos could rewrite the record books

The T53 racer is chasing his first Paralympic gold this summer and based on his Nottwil form it looks very likely he will get to sing the Canadian anthem at least once in Rio. The 33-year-old set his second fastest times ever over 100m and 400m and was bitterly disappointed not to have lowered his 100m world record.

3.Marlou van Rhijn is getting faster

The Dutch blade runner loves the Nottwil track and set her fourth world record there in three years when she lowered her own 100m T43 best to 12.79 seconds. Very few T43/44 sprinters have ever gone under 13 seconds - April Holmes of the USA’s T44 record of 12.98 has stood since 2006 – and few would bet against her doing the 100m and 200m sprint double in Rio.

4.Isle Hayes has a fight on her hands for Rio 2016 gold

Last year South Africa’s Ilse Hayes was the world’s fastest female Para athlete for a short period after clocking 11.89 and she won the sprint double at October’s World Championships. She looked a dead cert for Rio 2016 gold in the T13 class until the arrival of Leilia Adzhametova in Nottwil. The Ukrainian ran 11.82 and, although she will be disappointed to have lost her world record, Hayes will be happy she has a strong rival to push her to her limits this September.

5.Marcel Hug looks determined to make amends

By his own admission, the Swiss Silver Bullet had a disappointing World Championships last October but all that appears to have done is make him even stronger and more determined in 2016. After winning the Boston and London marathons earlier this year, Hug showed great form in Nottwil. In the 1,500m T54, the world record holder went head-to-head with Thailand’s world champion Rawat Tana. Hug produced a tactically perfect race to win the race and punched the air in delight as he crossed the line in a rare display of emotion from the normally quiet Swiss racer. Maybe his beard, a new addition for 2016, is his new lucky charm as he also won the 800m.

6.The T33 class needs more depth

Of the 11 world records set in Nottwil, six came in the T33 class. Great Britain’s teenage sensation Shelby Watson set four records whilst Kuwait’s Ahmad Almutairi set two. Unfortunately for Watson there are no events on the Rio 2016 programme for the women’s T33 class, whilst on the men’s side only the 100m features. More T33 racers around the world are needed so talented athletes such as Watson and Almutairi can go for gold in major events without having to compete in the T34 class.

7.The Nottwil track is superfast

There is a reason why many of the world’s best athletes descend on the remote Swiss town of Nottwil each year, the track is unbelievably fast. This year 11 world records were set bringing the tally to 31 in the last three years alone. Nottwil will stage the Youth World Championships in 2017 and who knows, we might see some teenage sensations rewriting the record books.