Russian world champion Egor Sharov and Germany’s world silver medallist Franziska Liebhardt were amongst the winners on the first day of competition at the IPC Athletics Grand Prix in Grosseto, Italy (Friday 8th April).
The three-day meeting acts as a test event for the IPC Athletics European Championships which also take place at the Tuscan city’s Carlo Zecchini Olympic Stadium in two months’ time.
Liebhardt’s (F37) second round throw of 13.23m in the women’s shot put F35-38 was enough to seal the win ahead of her Czech rival, the reigning European champion Eva Berna, who finished in second place with a best of 10.84m.
The German now tops the 2016 global rankings and has shown great form in recent months, setting what was then a new world record of 12.22m at the Berlin Grand Prix last June.
The 34-year-old threw even further at the IPC Athletics World Championships in Qatar last October, sealing global silver with a new European record of 13.39m behind China’s Mi Na, and she was clearly determined to lay down a marker in Grosseto with the 2016 Paralympic Games also on the horizon.
Italy’s Simone Giovarruscio (F37) managed a best of 9.67m in the men’s event.
Spain’s Maximiliano Rodriguez (T12) came out on top in the men’s long jump T11/12 with a best of 6.13m – more than one metre clear of the rest of the field, while fellow Spaniard Sara Martinez (T12) finished first in the women’s event, thanks to her third round effort of 5.19m.
In the men’s high jump T47 Romania’s Florin Marius Cojoc cleared 1.66m before passing on 1.68m, but he was unable to get over the bar in his three attempts at 1.70m.
Serbia’s Nebojsa Duric (F55) lies second in the world rankings after he won the men’s discus F51-57 with his final round effort of 32.77m.
Lithuanian Andrius Skuja (F46) threw a best of 38.36m to take the win in the men’s javelin throw F40-46; Slovakia’s Igor Brunner (F44) was second with 37.70m, and Italy’s Giacomo Poli took third (37.01m).
The women’s javelin throw F40-46 was won by Serbia’s Saska Sokolov (F46) thanks to her fifth round effort of 27.74m, with Czech Martina Simonova (F44) second with 20.22m.
The men’s javelin F33-34 went to Montenegro’s Radmilo Baranin (F34) with a best of 18.47m – more than three metres clear of the rest of the field.
There were a number of 800m races out on the track on Friday, and it was no surprise as Russia’s Egor Sharov (T13) took gold in the men’s T11/12/13/20/38 event.
The 27-year-old world champion clocked 1:56.88 as he finished well clear of the rest of the field. Denmark’s T20 athlete Mohamed Mahad Hersi (2:10.42) finished in second place while Belgium’s Matthias Boonen (T13) was third (2:21.18).
Great Britain’s Isaac Towers (T34) was first across the line in the men’s 800m T33/34/51/53/54 in a time of 1:51.25. Germany’s David Scherer (T54) finished second in 1:52.17 and Frenchman Sebastian Mombre (T34) was third in 1:55.76.
Great Britain also topped the podium in the women’s 800m T53/54 as T54 wheelchair racer Meggan Dawson-Farrell (2:05.52) took the tape just ahead of Turkey’s Zubeyde Supurgeci (2:05.61). Her compatriot, T53 racer Hamide Kurt, clocked 2:06.18 for third place.
Competition in Grosseto continues on Saturday and full results can be found here.