Several world champions and Paralympic medallists will be back to the track and field this week for their first official competition since the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Krakow hosts the 48th edition of the Polish Para Athletics Championships from Friday to Sunday (21 to 23 August) with the country’s most successful athletes together and guests from Czech Republic, Greece, Malta and Portugal.
Leverkusen will be home of the 10th Invitational Para Athletics International Meeting on Friday with German stars hosting athletes from Netherlands and Switzerland.
Due to the pandemic, both events will be closed to spectators.
Here are the stars in action in Germany and Poland.
Bayer Leverkusen’s Fritz-Jacobi Athletics Park is the home ground of some of the world’s best athletes such as Paralympic and world champion, and men’s long jump T64 world-record holder Markus Rehm who will be making his season debut.
Another long jump star who can call Leverkusen home is the men’s T63 world champion Leon Schaeffer. Men’s shot put F41 Paralympic champion Niko Kappel is the strongest name in the field events.
Some of the fastest sprinters on the planet will take on the track in the German city. In the women’s 100m, T44/64 world champion Irmgard Bensusan will face Dutch European champion Marlene van Gansewinkel.
Men’s 100m T64 world champion and world record-holder Johannes Floors will be back to the track for the first time since recovering from coronavirus. He will be head to head against fellow national team star Felix Streng, who has already competed this year in Switzerland.
Poland was due to host the European Championships in Bydgoszcz – postponed to next year because of the pandemic –, but there will still be plenty of Para athletics action at the AWF Krakow Stadium.
London 2012 and Rio 2016 men’s high jump gold medallist Maciej Lepiato leads the group of Polish international stars together with Paralympic medallists Lucyna Kornobys (women’s shot put F34), Michal Derus (men’s 100m T47) and Alicja Jeromin (women’s 100m and 400m T47).
Two-time European champion at Berlin 2018, Michal Kotkowski will be the one to beat in the men’s T37 track events and is one of young talents who broke through in the traditional Polish National Championships.
Krakow will also mark the first classification opportunity in Para athletics this year since the pandemic forced the cancellation of the Grand Prix season and other important events.
The competition will be livestreamed on World Para Athletics Facebook page.