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Beijing Para-Athletics Grand Prix rounds off with record-breaking feats

By : APC Media
Date : May 16, 2018

With the Indonesia 2018 Asian Paralympic Games just a few months away, track and field para-athletes underlined their world class credentials at the Beijing Grand Prix that concluded recently.

The three-day event, which is third of the nine events of the World Tour Para-Athletics Grand Prix Series set to take place around the world in 2018, rounded off with hosts China dominating the medals tally claiming 64 gold, 17 silver and 10 bronze medals. Around 268 athletes from 16 countries including from Asia Japan, Uzbekistan Kazakhstan and Thailand participated in the Beijing meet.

Among the several highlights during the weekend was the world record-breaking run by China's Rio Paralympic champion Cuiqing Liu in the T11 women's 400m on the last day of competition. Liu, who clocked 56.00 seconds over one lap, was 0.14 secs faster than the mark set by Brazil’s former world champion Terezhina Guilhermina back in 2007.

Home stars also stole the show in field competitions with London 2017 world champions Lijuan Zou (shot put F34), Yuping Zhao (discus F12), Liangmin Zhang (discus F11), Na Mi (31.37m) (discus F37) coming out with season’s best throws. Double Paralympic champion Xia Zhou took the gold in the women’s 100m T35, while teammate Fenfen Jiang won the women’s 100m T37 and world champion Zetan Fan won both the men’s 200m and 400m T11 races.

China’s experienced athletes made the list of winners too, with 40-year-old Yang Liwan (F54 women's javelin) completing a hat-trick of wins in Beijing, clinching three golds and three world leads in shot put, javelin and discus F54. Liwan has two gold medals from last year's World Championships and is strong gold medal prospect at the 2018 Asian Para Games.

On the opening day, home favourite and double world sprint champion Guohua Zhou grabbed the spotlight with a leap of 4.99m in the long jump which also propelled her to the top of the world rankings. The mark put her 5cm ahead of Brazil’s Paralympic champion Silvania Costa de Oliveira, who returned to international competition in April following the birth of her child last year.

Among other Asian nations, Uzbekistan’s world and Paralympic champion Aleksandr Svechnikov threw a world lead in the javelin F13 and Japan’s Asian Para Games double gold medallist Saito Yukiko took the world no. 1 position with her throw in the women’s shot put F46. Malaysia’s Siti Noor Iasah Mohamad Ariffin won the women’s 400m T20 while the men’s event was won by Japan’s Yonezawa Ryo.

The 2018 World Para-Athletics Grand Prix series now heads to Rieti in Italy with the fourth GP scheduled from May 18 to 20.

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*Subject to ratification by the IPC