Athletics: Day 10 preview17.09.2016
The final day of track and field competition in the Olympic stadium will see 25 medal events contested.
No fewer than 25 finals take place on the last day (Saturday 17 September) of track and field action at Rio 2016.
China currently sit top of the Para athletics medals table with 23 gold, 19 silver and 11 bronze – they will be hoping to increase that tally on the final day of Para athletics at Rio’s Olympic stadium, with the marathon still to come on Sunday (18 September) at Fort Copacabana.
One of China’s star hopes will undoubtedly be teenage sprinter Xia Zhou, who lines up in the 200m T35 having already seen off Australia’s reigning world champion and world record holder Isis Holt to win the 100m T35.
Watch out too for Jianwen Hu in the men’s 400m T38 - he defeated Australia’s double Paralympic champion Evan O’Hanlon over 100m and could well make the podium over one lap.
The women’s discus F38 field includes six throwers who have all thrown over 30m this season; China’s two-time Paralympic champion Na Mi leads the way with a best of 34.05m but Ireland’s talented 16-year-old Noelle Lenihan is not far behind having thrown 32.14m this year.
Finland’s Leo-Pekka Tahti is targeting his fourth consecutive Paralympic sprint gold in the men’s event – the ‘Flying Finn’ set the current world record of 13.63 at the London Games four years ago and comfortably progressed through to the final as the winner of his heat alongside the likes of US racer Erik Hightower and China’s Yang Liu.
Italy’s Martina Caironi is another experienced Paralympian looking to defend her title here in Rio – the 27-year-old set a new 100m T42 world record on her way to winning the world title last year and as the only Para athlete in her class to go under 15 seconds she could be hard to beat.
Van Rhijn lost out on 100m gold to Frenchwoman Marie-Amelie le Fur at London 2012; the pair go head to head once more. Watch out too for Germany’s Irmgard Bensusan, silver medallist over 200m and 400m at Rio 2016.
Canada’s Michelle Stilwell could make it two out of two if she wins the 100m T52. The four-time Paralympic champion won the 400m T52 one week ago; she’ll have to get past a tough field including the likes of US world silver medallist Kerry Morgan and Belgium’s world champion Marieke Vervoort.
The 39-year-old won the 100m T51 on Tuesday (13 September) and starts as the fastest in the world this year against the likes of Algeria’s Mohamed Berrahal.
The women’s 400m T13 features French world champion Nantenin Keita, Ukraine’s Leila Adzhametova – winner of the 100m T13 on Sunday (11 September) and South Africa’s Ilse Hayes, who starts as the fastest on paper with a personal best of 56.20.
Also racing over one lap is Cuban Omara Durand, the fastest female Paralympian in the world. The 24-year-old set a new world record in the heats and will be hard to beat in the 400m T12 as she looks to complete a hat trick of victories at Rio 2016.
The final of the men’s long jump T42 also takes place and if this year’s performances are anything to go by, excitement is guaranteed.
The world record has already been broken five times this year, by three different Para athletes: Japan’s reigning world champion Atsushi Yamamoto leapt 6.56m in May, then Denmark’s Paralympic bronze medallist Daniel Wagner added another 11 centimetres as he jumped 6.67m at the Rio Games test event, before securing the European title with 6.70m in June.
Germany’s Heinrich Popow soared to the top of the world rankings when he jumped 6.72m in July – he added a further five centimetres on to that mark last month.
The 28-year-old world record holder has a best of 8.40m – a distance that would have won him Olympic gold in August.