The World Para Athletics Grand Prix series heads to Brazil this week (26-28 April) for the second event of the year, the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.
More than 230 Para athletes will line up at the event which doubles as the 2018 Loterias Caixa Athletics Open Championships, including all of the host nation’s London 2017 world champions - Mateus Evangelista Cardoso, Petrucio Ferreira dos Santos, Daniel Martins, Alessandro Silva, Andre Rocha and Thiago Santos.
Here’s a taste of what’s to come:
Reigning world and Paralympic champion Petrucio Ferreira has already clocked a world lead 10.51 this year – edging closer to Irishman Jason Smyth’s time of 10.46, the fastest time ever by a Para athlete.
Ferreira will be tough to beat in the 100m T47, but world silver medallist Yohansson Nascimento and fellow Brazilian Washington Junior are amongst those hoping to cause an upset.
Watch out too for amputee sprinters Alan Oliveira and Vinicius Goncalves Rodrigues.
Oliveira, now competing in the T62 class, will be looking for a return to the form that saw him win 200m T44 gold at London 2012, while T63 sprinter Rodrigues has already made his mark this season, clocking a phenomenal 11.99 nine days ago – the first in his class to go below the 12-second mark.
Home talent Felipe Gomes, Daniel Silva and Lucas Prado go head-to-head in the men’s 100m and 400m T11.
Former world champion Prado currently tops the rankings after clocking 11.17 earlier this month, while it’s Paralympic silver medallist Gomes who leads the global standings over one lap.
The 100m T12 features another current world number one in Joeferson Marinho de Oliveria, who has a best of 11.02 this year, while Brazil’s top female visually impaired sprinters – including Jerusa Santos, Jhulia Santos, Lorena Salvatini Spoladore and Viviane Soares – also compete.
Paralympic silver medallist Veronica Hipolito is back in action after missing the London 2017 World Championships – she takes on the 100m, 400m and long jump T38.
Home favourite Daniel Martins is the man to beat in the 400m T20 – he lines up against four Ecuadorians, including the man who clinched silver behind him at London 2017, Ecuador’s Damian Carcelen.
Brazilian Odair Santos won 1,500m and 5,000m T11 silver at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, but was not in London to defend his middle-distance world title last year. The 36-year-old is back running on home soil and takes on the 5,000m in São Paulo.
Chile’s Ignacio Sepulveda finished fourth in the men’s 1,500m T46 at London 2017 – the 23-year-old lines up this week alongside his teammate Mauricio Orrego Campos, Peruvians Carlos Sangama and Efrain Sotacuro, and Brazilians Ezequiel da Costa and Yagonny Reis de Sousa.
Siblings Silvania and Ricardo Costa de Oliveira did their family and country proud when they each won Paralympic long jump T11 gold at Rio 2016. Silvania returns to international competition after the birth of her son last year while Ricardo will be hoping to build on current form which saw him leap 6.25m in March.
Mexico’s Paralympic shot put F57 champion Angeles Ortiz Hernandez will be hoping for a second consecutive Grand Prix win after breaking the world record with a throw of 11.16m in Dubai (UAE) last month.
Argentina’s triple jump T20 world bronze medallist Alain Villamarin lines up the long jump T20 – he will have to watch out for the likes of Ecuador’s Ronny Santos Iza who has a best of 6.98m.
Shot put world champions Alessandro Silva (F11) and Thiago Santos (F57) are also in action, as well as Ecuador’s world T20 silver medallist Stalin Mosquera.