The first IPC Athletics Grand Prix in Australia attracted more than 100 athletes.
Autralia’s Kobie Donovan took centre stage with a new world record in the field as Australia played host to the IPC Athletics Grand Prix series for the first time ever on Saturday 7 March.
The event in Brisbane, supported by Allianz, doubled up as the Queensland State Championships, and saw more than 100 para-athletes line-up at the Queensland State Athletics Facility hoping to make their mark in world class competition ahead of October’s World Championships in Qatar.
Donovan (F40) secured a new world record in the women’s discus (ambulant). The 21-year-old threw 16.32m in her penultimate attempt to take the top spot based on points ahead of her compatriot Claire Keefer (F41), who managed a best throw of 20.98m.
Chad Perris (T13) continued his impressive run of form, storming home to win the men’s 100m (ambulant) in a time of 11.06. The 23-year-old tops the world rankings in the 100m T13.
“I thought I executed a good race. The blocks moved around a little bit in heats but I was really confident coming in to the final. I’m running well and I think I can maintain that momentum towards the World Championships,” said Perris.
Australia’s 100m T42 world champion Scott Reardon (T42) also looked in great shape as he clocked 12.24 – just 0.13 seconds shy of the world record mark of 12.11. The 25-year-old was delighted to be able to race on home soil.
“It’s great having an international meeting here in Australia,” said Reardon. “The future of international Paralympics, especially in athletics, revolves around the IPC circuit doing really well. If we can start to build it throughout the world to make it the equivalent of the Diamond League it would be ideal.”
Ella Pardy (T38) was first over the line in the women’s 100m (ambulant). The 25-year-old saw off stiff competition as she stopped the clock at 13.53. Isabelle Hampton (T13) was second in 13.60.
“I was focussed on what my coach had said, with my warm up and my drills, and so I ran a really good race - I’m one happy girl,” said Pardy after her win.
Victory in the men’s 400m (ambulant) went to Alberto Campbell (T20). The 22-year-old clocked 50.28 to finish ahead of Nicholas Hum (T20) who managed 51.42, and Sam Harding (T13) who crossed the line in 52.52.
Stephanie Schwitzer (T20) won the women’s one-lap race, clocking 1:02.73.
Talented Australian teenager Jaryd Clifford (T12) came out on top in the men’s 800m (ambulant), crossing the line in 2:05.27, with Papua New Guinea’s Samuel Nason (T47) second in 2:08.11. Chloe Iwanoczko (T20) clocked 3:01.91 in the women’s event.
In the men’s wheelchair races, Australia’s world championship finalist Sam Carter (T54) triumphed in the 100m, with a time of 14.88, with his compatriot Matthew Cameron (T54) second in 15.04. Richard Colman (T53) finished third.
Cameron turned the tables on Carter in the 400m, clocking 50.60 to cross the line in first place with Carter second in 51.29. Australia’s triple world silver medallist Rheed McCracken (T34) crossed the line third in 54.59.
There was a win for the experienced racer Colman in the 800m. The 31-year-old finished in 1:46.67 - just ahead of former T34 world record holder McCracken (1:46.94).
McCracken said: “I was really happy with the times today. It felt like all my training is paying off. So far the few 800m races I’ve done this year I’ve gone faster and faster.
“This event rally puts Brisbane on the map, it’s such a fast track here so hopefully we can get even more people here next year.”
Justine Dawson (T54) clocked 3:11.19 in the women’s 800m (wheelchair), to add to her 25.04 in the 100m event.
Results in the men’s discus throw (ambulant) went to form as Australia’s world bronze medallist Guy Henly (F37) threw 53.61m with his opening attempt to secure the win ahead of New Zealand’s Jack Lewer (F20).
Brayden Davidson (T36) from South Australia leapt 5.27m to win the men’s long jump (ambulant) based on the points system. The 18-year-old got the better of his countryman Nicholas Hum (T20), finalist at the IPC Athletics World Championships in Lyon, France 19 months ago, who managed a best of 6.88m with his final leap of the day.
Erin Cleaver (T38) came out in top on the women’s long jump (ambulant) with a best of 4.37m, just six centimetres ahead of Australia’s Commonwealth Games gold medallist Jodi Elkington (T37).
In the men’s javelin (wheelchair), Marcelin Walico (F57) threw 32.2m to secure the win.
The next IPC Athletics Grand Prix will take place in Tunis, Tunisia, between 23-25 March.