Sprinters out in force in Arizona24.05.2019
Fast runners in the spotlight as 2019 Grand Prix series heads to US
With the World Para Athletics track and field season now in full swing, the 2019 Grand Prix series heads to Arizona, USA for two days of competition from 24-25 May.
A great mix of experience and youth will be in action, with two major events - the Lima Parapan American Games and the Dubai World Championships – on the horizon.
Reigning world champion David Brown and his guide Jerome Avery race in the men’s 100m T11. Brown, 26, also goes in the 400m with new guide Connor Faint, having enjoyed his best season-opener ever in Miami in March.
Another vision impaired sprinter to look out for is rising star Noah Malone. The 17-year-old high school student only started out in Para athletics just over one year ago after he was contacted by the then director of US Paralympics Track & Field, Cathy Sellers.
The T12 teenager has already started his season in superb form, clocking 10.65 at the Drake Relays in Iowa in April, before lowering his personal best to a phenomenal 10.62 earlier this month. Expect to see even more of Malone as the season progresses.
Fellow US athlete Jaleen Roberts only made her senior international debut at the London 2017 World Championships but any debut nerves were hard to spot as the T37 Para athlete returned home with one silver and two bronze.
She competes in the 100m, 200m and long jump T37, while Grand Prix regular Kym Crosby, a Paralympic and world bronze medallist, will be hoping to continue her domination of the women’s T13 sprints in Arizona.
Great Britain’s double world champion Sammi Kinghorn returns to the track where she set a new 200m T53 world record in 2017. The Scot opens her season in the US and races in the 100m, 400m, and 800m T53.
Expect a thrilling head-to-head in the men’s 100m T52 as both the reigning Paralympic champion Gianfranco Iannotta and the current world champion Ray Martin take to the track. The pair meet again over one lap.
Double Paralympic and world champion Deja Young will be the one to watch in the women’s 100m, 200m and 400m T47, while the women’s 100m T64 features Trinidad and Tobago’s 24-year-old Paralympic and world bronze medallist Nyoshia Cain.
At 18-years-old, Alexa Halko still has youth on her side, but the talented wheelchair racer, who competes in the T34 class, has already made a name for herself on the international stage.
With five medals from the last two World Championships plus three from the Rio 2016 Games, Halko will have her eye on further success this year, so it will be fascinating to see how she fares in Arizona. She also races in the 100m T34.
The men’s 1,500m T11 features three Para athletes from Ecuador – Jimmy Caicedo, Darwin Castro - Ecuador's flag bearer at the closing ceremony of the 2015 Parapan American Games - and 16-year-old Daniel Simbana.
The men’s discus F64 is set to be one of the most enthralling competitions with three major medallists in the line-up.
Trinidad and Tobago’s Akeem Stewart (F43) claimed two world titles at London 2017, winning the javelin and shot put F44. He faces US duo David Blair (F44), the reigning Paralympic champion, and three-time world champion Jeremy Campbell (F64).
Blair has history in Arizona; he threw what was then a world record 63.61m there three years ago.