The para athletics competition tomorrow will start with the women’s shot put F12. Italy’s Assunta Legnante is one the favourites for the gold medal alongside Uzbekistan’s Safiya Burkhanova.
Legnante, famous for her eye masks, is the back-to-back Paralympic champion and a three-time world champion. She competed at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games and was European indoor champion in 2007 before losing her sight.
Burkhanova will compete in Tokyo as the world record holder and the silver medallist from the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. She has finished second at the London 2017 and Dubai 2019 World Championships.
Mexico’s Rebeca Valenzuela Alvarez was bronze at Rio 2016 and also finished third in the last three World Championships.
RPC’s Nadezhda Burkova leads the rankings in 2021 with a result set at the Dubai Grand Prix in February. Lydia Church from Great Britain is the second-best this year with an attempt from the competition in Coventry in April.
Next up will be the women’s long jump T47 with New Zealand’s Anna Grimaldi defending her Paralympic title from Rio 2016. She won silver at the Dubai 2019 Worlds and set the best result of the year in February at a competition in New Zealand.
Ecuador’s Kiara Rodriguez is a star in the making. The 18-year-old beat Grimaldi for gold at Dubai 2019 and lies in second place in the 2021 rankings with a mark set in Monterrey, Mexico, in June.
RPC’s Aleksandra Moguchaia took the bronze in Dubai two years ago and has recently won gold at the Bydgoszcz 2021 European Championships with the third-best result of the season.
Men’s javelin throw F54 will be the first men’s final on day eight. The defending Paralympic champion Manolis Stefanoudakis will go up against the reigning world champion Hamed Amiri from Iran.
Greece’s Stefanoudakis is the two-time world champion from Doha 2015 and London 2017. He won his last international title at the Bydgoszcz 2021 Euros setting the third-best mark of the year.
Amiri is in front of Stefanoudakis in the rankings. He set his season-best result at the Dubai World Para Athletics Grand Prix in February.
The leading shot putter in the F54 class in 2021 is the USA’s Justin Phongsavanh. He set the result at the US National Trials in Minneapolis in June.
The men’s 1500m T20 will be the first track final on day eight. World record holder Michael Brannigan from USA will compete as the reigning Paralympic champion and a world champion from the London 2017.
Poland’s Daniel Pek will also be eyeing Paralympic gold after taking silver at London 2012 and Rio 2016. He is a two-time World Championships medallist and a European title holder from Grosseto 2016.
RPC’s Aleksandr Rabotnitskii emerged as the T20 force in the last two years. He won gold at the Dubai 2019 Worlds and Bydgoszcz 2021 Euros.
Rabotnitskii is the second-fastest man in the event in 2021 behind Japan’s Daiki Akai. He set the season-best time at a competition in Kagawa in April.
Next up will be the women’s 1500m T20. Poland’s Barbara Bieganowska-Zajac was the main favourite to top the podium until June when she lost the European Championships gold on home soil to Ukraine’s Liudmyla Danylina.
The two will be in action in Tokyo with Bieganowska-Zajac targeting a third consecutive Paralympic gold. She is also the world record holder and four-time world champion in the race.
Bieganowska-Zajac suffered a defeat on home soil in June this year at the European Championships. Ukraine’s Liudmyla Danylina took gold, while Polish athlete had to settle for silver.
Danylina is the bronze medallist from Rio 2016 and a two-time silver medallist at the World Championships (London 2017 and Dubai 2019).
Hungary’s Ilona Biacsi is another medal contender as the silver medallist from Rio 2016 and bronze medallist from the London 2012 Paralympics.
Brazil’s Joao Victor Teixeira is the reigning world champion in the men’s discus throw F37 and will be keen to take the Paralympic medal that he missed at the homes Games in Rio five years ago.
Teixeira has the second-best mark of 2021 from the National Trials in Sao Paulo in June. Ukraine’s Mykola Zhabnyak is the ranking leader with a throw that gave him his first major international title at the European Championships in Bydgoszcz also in June.
Pakistan’s Haider Ali and Australia’s Guy Henly will also compete in Tokyo. Ali is the silver medallist from Dubai 2019 Worlds, while Henly has three World Championships medals to his name.
Shahrad Nasajpour from the Refugee Paralympic Team will make his second Paralympics appearance after Rio 2016. The athlete born in Iran finish in seventh place in the event at the Dubai 2019 Worlds.
Hosts Japan will be hoping for gold in the men’s high jump T64. Toru Suzuki is the world record holder and the second-best jumper this year. He took bronze at the Dubai 2019 Worlds.
Great Britain’s Jonathan Broom-Edwards was the winner in Dubai and will be Suzuki’s biggest rival in Tokyo. Temurbek Giyazov from Uzbekistan won silver in Dubai and will also pose a threat.
The last medal event of the morning session will the men’s 100m T52. USA’s Gianfranco Iannotta and Raymond Martin will fight for medals against Japanese sprinters Yuki Oya and Tatsuya Ito.
Iannotta is the reigning Paralympic champion and the Lima 2019 Parapan American Games champion. He is the fourth-fastest man this year with a time set at the US National Trials.
Martin set the best time in 2021 at the same competition. He won the gold medal at the London 2012 Paralympics and has four consecutive World Championships titles from 2013 to 2019. The 27-year-old from New Jersey is also the world record holder.
Yuki Oya and Tatsuya Ito are lying in second and third place in the rankings. They set their best results at a competition in Kobe. Ito reached the podium in the last World Championships in Dubai finishing in third place.
The evening session will begin with another T20 class event, the women’s long jump.
Poland’s Karolina Kucharczyk has been the dominant force in the event for the last 10 years. She has four European and three World Championships titles.
Kucharczyk is the world record holder and the owner of the best result this season. The only thing missing in her CV is the Paralympic gold medal. Kucharzyk had to settle for silver in Rio.
Croatia’s Mikela Ristoski will be defending the Paralympic title in Tokyo. She won bronze in London 2012 and a gold medal when she returned to the British capital in 2017 for the World Championships.
RPC’s Aleksandra Ruchkina is coming up through the ranks in the last few years. She won a bronze medal at the Dubai 2019 Worlds and Bydgoszcz 2021 Euros. Ruchkina is the second-best long jumper this year in front with Ristoski in third place.
The long jump will be followed by the women’s club throw F51. Ukraine’s Zoia Ovsii is the star of the event as the back-to-back world champion and world record holder. Ovsii has one European Championships title to her name from Berlin 2018 but she finished second at the Bydgoszcz 2021.
RPC’ Elena Gorlova won the title in Poland and will be one of the biggest rivals for Ovsii in Tokyo. Gorlova won bronze at the Dubai 2019 Worlds behind Ovsii and Great Britain’s Joanna Butterfield.
Butterfield is the reigning Paralympic champion, Doha 2015 world champion, and a two-time European Championships winner. She is fourth in the rankings this year with the USA’s Cassie Mitchell sitting in first place.
Best friends fighting for gold
Following up next will be the men’s shot put F57 with Brazil’s Thiago Paulino Dos Santos in the spotlight. He is the world record holder and back-to-back world champion. Paulino set the best result of the season at the National Trials in June.
His compatriot Marco Aurelio Borges won second place at the same competition and is currently the second-best shot putter in 2021.
China’s Guoshan Wu will be defending his Paralympic title from Rio five years ago. He won three World Championships medals in the period from 2015 to 2019 but failed to take the gold medal.
Poland’s Janusz Rokicki has finished with a silver medal in the last two Paralympic Games. He has one World Championships gold and has been European champion three times in a row.
The women’s 100m T64 will be the one the highlights on day eight. Fleur Jong from the Netherlands is the reigning European champion and set a new world record in Bydgoszcz in the T62 class.
Her compatriot and friend Marlene van Gansewinkel won silver in Bydgoszcz. She is the fastest woman in 2021 with a world record to her name in the T64 class. Van Gansewinkel won gold at the Berlin 2018 Euros and silver at the Dubai 2019 Worlds.
Germany’s Irmgard Bensusan is the reigning world champion and the silver medallist from the last Paralympics in Rio.
USA’s Femita Ayanbeku and Beatriz Hatz sit in second and third place in the rankings this year after their performance at the US National Trials in Minneapolis.
The last women’s event of the day will be the javelin F46. New Zealand’s Holly Robinson is the world record holder and the best javelin thrower in 2021. She won the silver medal at the Rio 2016 Paralympics.
Great Britain’s Hollie Arnold is the defending Paralympic champion and the four-time world champion. She added one European title from Berlin 2018 to her CV. She is third in the rankings this year behind Robinson and Venezuela’s Naibys Daniela Morillo.
Dutch Para athlete Noelle Roorda is the new face in the women’s javelin F46. She comes to Tokyo with extra motivation after her first major championships gold at the Bydgoszcz 2021 Euros in June.
Universal relay making Paralympic debut
Germany’s Johannes Floors is the favourite to triumph in the men’s 400m T62. He is the reigning world champion from Dubai and European champion from Berlin in 2018. Floors is also the world record holder.
Teenage talent Olivier Hendriks from the Netherlands will most likely be the main threat for Floors in Tokyo. Hendriks is the reigning European champion and a silver medallist from the Dubai 2019 Worlds and Berlin 2018 Euros.
Next up will be the men’s 200m T61 with Germany’s Ali Lacin as the second-fastest man this year and the first favourite for gold. USA’s Luis Puertas set the third-best time in 2021 at the US National Trials in June.
The last individual final of the day will be the men’s 100m T51. Peter Genyn from Belgium and Toni Piispanen from Finland are expected to battle for the gold medal.
Piispanen triumphed at the London 2012 Paralympics with Genyn taking the win four years later in Rio de Janeiro. Genyn is also the world record holder with the second-fastest time this year, while Piispanen lies in third place in the rankings.
Genyn and Piispanen both have two World Championships titles with Genyn winning one more European Championships than his rival. However, it was Piispanen who triumphed the last time they met in Bydgoszcz in June.
Algeria’s Mohamed Berrahal is another name to watch out for in the men’s 100m T51. He is the bronze medallist from London 2012 and a silver medallist from Rio 2016. His collection also includes three World Championships medals but no major gold to his name so far.
The 4 x 100m universal relay will be the last final on day eight. The competition makes its Paralympic debut and it was part of the World Championships for the first time at Dubai 2019.
USA took gold at the Worlds but with China in second. But the Chinese team has the world record. RPC is the reigning European champion from Bydgoszcz.
By Filip Ozbolt | For World Para Athletics