• The Icelandic thrower was the star performer at the World Para Athletics Grand Prix with a distance of 59.77m.
Iceland’s Helgi Sveinsson set alight the World Para Athletics Grand Prix in Rieti, Italy, with a stunning world record in the javelin F42 on Saturday (6 May), the second of three days of competition at the Stadio Raul Guidobaldi.
Sveinsson threw 59.77m with his fourth attempt - beating his own world mark of 57.36m set in Reykjavik two years ago.
Saturday’s performance was a marked improvement upon his leading effort at Rio 2016 where he finished fifth, albeit in the javelin F44 event. His best throw of 53.96m in Brazil placed him top of the F42 competitors.
The 37-year-old, who won the javelin F42 world title in 2013 and European gold in 2016, was clearly delighted to improve on his personal best with just over two months to go before the World Para Athletics Championships in London, Great Britain.
“I’ve been waiting for it for a long time – I wanted it in Rio, it’s a really good start to the season, this is the season-opener and here in Rieti is a good place to set the record,” Sveinsson explained.
“Now I will go home, relax and my eyes are for London where I will try to get over 60 metres.”
There were a number of other highly impressive performances during the three days of competition in Rieti.
South Africa’s star sprinter Ilse Hayes continued her promising return to the track after an Achilles injury put paid to her training earlier in the year.
The 31-year-old, who won double Paralympic silver at Rio 2016, clocked 12.53 seconds in the 100m T13 and 25.95 seconds over 200m as she builds up to what could be an emotional swansong at this summer’s World Championships at the London Stadium.
Home favourite and T11 Para athlete Arjola Deda – a double bronze medallist at the 2016 European Championships - finished the shorter sprint in 13.30 seconds and also leapt 4.59m in the women’s long jump T11.
Portugal’s reigning 400m T12 world champion Luis Goncalves clocked 50.46 over one lap while in the 200m T12 he managed 23.14.
Back out in the field, Italy’s Assunta Legnante also put on an eye-catching performance in the women’s shot put F11.
The Paralympic, world and European champion produced a throw of 16.95m – just 37 centimetres off her own world record as she underlined just why she will be tough to beat in London in July.
Results went to form in the men’s javelin F54-57 as Greek Paralympic and world champion Manolis Stefanoudakis (F54) won with a best of 29.69m, while in the shot put event he came top with a best of 8.10m.
Winner at the Grand Prix in Dubai and Tunis already this year, there is no doubt 2017 is shaping up to be highly promising for the 34-year-old.
Luxembourg’s European silver medallist Tom Habscheid (F42) threw 41.62m in the discus F42-44 on Saturday and managed a best of 13.54m 24 hours later in the shot put F42-44.
There was a Canadian one-two in the women’s shot put and discus F53 as Pamela LeJean got the better of her teammate Casey Perin on both occasions. LeJean managed 11.37m in the discus and 4.39m in the shot put, while Perin threw the discus 6.60m and the shot put 3.35m.
Full results from Rieti can be found here.
The 2017 World Para Athletics Grand series now moves to Arizona, USA from 12-13 May for the fifth of nine meetings taking place around the globe in the build up to London 2017.