Reigning world and Paralympic champions from around the world were in sparkling form at the 12th International Palympic Meeting Kern Pharma which took place in L'Hospitalet, Spain, earlier this month (14 May).
Many star Para athletes made their presence known less than two months before July’s World Championships, including home grown talent and Rio 2016 Paralympic champions Kim Lopez Gonzalez and Gerard Descarrega.
Lopez, a winner at this event last year, came top in the men’s shot put with 14.82m, while in the discus F12 his best of 45.19m took him to third in the 2017 world rankings.
Paralympic 400m T11 champion Descarrega was fastest over one lap, clocking 52.49 seconds, with Great Britain’s 400m T36 Rio 2016 gold medallist Paul Blake second in 55.39 seconds.
Italy’s Paralympic 100m T42 champion Martina Caironi looked to have recovered from her recent injury problems as she equalled her personal best in the long jump T42 with 4.66m – the same distance she leapt to secure silver at last year’s Paralympic Games.
Twelve months ago, young rising star Shelby Watson (T33) set two T33 world records out on the L’Hospitalet track and the Scot was back to her winning ways again, crossing the line first in both the 100m (21.59) and 200m (38.26) women’s wheelchair races.
Several members of the South African Paralympic team made the journey to Spain, including reigning world champion Ilse Hayes (T13) who won the 100m (12.54) and 200m (25.74) ahead of Great Britain’s Kadeena Cox (T38) who clocked 27.92 seconds over 200m, taking her to the top of the world rankings this year.
South Africans Jonathan Ntutu and Hilton Langenhoven were also in winning form. Paralympic silver medallist Ntutu raced in to a strong headwind (-2.8) to win the 100m T12 (11.45); he came out on top in the 200m too (23.31).
Langenhoven (T12) finished second in the long jump with 6.82m, just 3cm behind Spain’s world long jump F13 silver medallist Ivan Cano.
The London 2017 World Para Athletics Championships will take place between 14-23 July. To buy tickets, please click here.