Tunis 2023: Ktila, Chida shine with twin golds

Paralympic stars propel hosts Tunisia to top of medals table; Iraq and Uzbekistan impress too at season opener 09 Feb 2023
Tunisia's wheelchair racing star Walid Ktila
Tunisia's wheelchair racing star Walid Ktila would hope to continue the momentum into the upcoming Dubai 2023 GP.
ⒸNPC Tunisia/ Dash Agency
By World Para Athletics

Paralympic and local stars Walid Ktila and Mohamed Farhad Chida made an impressive start to the new season, shining with twin golds as the Tunis 2023 World Para Athletics Grand Prix ended at the Rades Athletics Stadium on Wednesday (8 February).

Ktila, the reigning Paralympic champion in men’s T34 wheelchair racing, clocked 15.89 in the men’s 100m T34 race, while he raced the 800m in 1:55.42, finishing ahead of compatriot Mohamed Nidhal Khelifi and Ali Radi Arshid in both races.     

Meanwhile, Chida, the four-time Paralympic champion in men’s T38, emerged the winner in the men’s long jump T36/37/38 with 5.94m and in the men’s 400m T37/38 event clocking 53.58. 

The stars were joined by compatriot and Paralympic silver medallist middle-distance runner Rouay Jebabli (3:55.58) who excelled in men’s 1500m T13, while Raoua Tlili hurled the discus out to 32.87m for the women’s discus throw F41 gold.

Overall, the host finished with 34 medals that had 16 gold medals to top the medals standings which saw African and Asian nations making a mark. Iraqi Para athletes too matched the Tunisians and picked up eight gold out of the 15 medals to take the second place ahead of Uzbekistan with 14 medals that had six gold.

Morocco and Saudi Arabia claimed the fourth and fifth places with five and three gold medals, respectively.

Among the gold medallist for Iraq were Ali Al-Rikabi (men's 100m T38), Nader Juft (men’s 400m T46) and Fatimah Suwaed (women’s 200m T35). For Uzbekistan, Omadbek Khasanov managed a distance of 6.52m for the men's long jump T46 gold.

Malaysian stars live up to billing

Among other top names, Paralympic stars from Malaysia Mohamed Rizuan Mohamed Puzi, Abdul Latif Romly and Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli lived up to their billing and made a brilliant start to the new season. 

While Mohamed Puzi clocked 12.51 in men’s 100m T36, Romly jumped to a distance of 6.90m in men’s long jump T20 final. Another Rio 2016 star Zolkefli got a distance of 15.93m in men's shot put F20.

Meanwhile, India’s Paralympic silver medallist Yogesh Kathunia took the gold hurling the discus to a distance of 35.36m in the men’s discus throw F55/ 56 event.

Both India and Malaysia finished with three gold medals each, in the sixth and seventh places respectively.

Nearly 300 athletes from 25 countries take part in the opening event of the season that marks the 10th anniversary of the Grand Prix. The event also offered the Minimum Qualification Standard for the Asian Para Games and the Paris 2023 Para Athletics World Championships in July. 

Complete results of the Tunis 2023 Grand Prix are available here.

The World Para Athletics action will next move to United Arab Emirates for the Dubai 2023 Grand Prix starting 26 February at the Dubai Club for People of Determination venue.