Marcel Hug clinched his third consecutive 10000m T54 title on a thrilling first afternoon of action at the IPC Athletics World Championships in Lyon, France which saw four world records falling in the field events on Saturday (20).
The Swiss ‘silver bullet’ cruised home in the last 100m to take gold in 23:04.75, well outside his own World record, but ahead of Japan’s Sho Watanabe and Canada’s Jean-Paul Compaore.
Hug, who races in no fewer than six World Championships events, said: “I am very happy, I did the perfect race and reached a good top speed. It was my first competition so I had to save some energy for the coming ones. I feel confident for the next days.”
Earlier, Hannah Cockroft secured Great Britain’s first gold medal of the World Championships with a win in the women’s 200m T34.
The 20-year-old London 2012 Paralympic Games and 2011 World champion made it look easy as she led round the bend and pushed home well clear of the field to retain the title she won two years ago with a championship record of 31.78.
“I was favourite with no great challenge,” said Cockroft. “However it was a bit harder today with the heat and the rivals improving. I want to keep on going breaking records and winning medals.”
In the men’s 1,500m T52, the gold medal went to 19-year-old Raymond Martin with a personal best of 3:51.28. The American is set to compete in no fewer than five events as he looks to add to the four golds he won at London 2012.
“I felt great it was a shiny day for me and America but a little bit too hot. I did a pretty good race and I feel quite confident for the upcoming races,” said Martin.
Seven medals were decided in the field, and the first world record of the 2013 World Championships went to Ukraine’s Paralympic champion Roman Pavlyk in the men’s Long Jump F36.
The 29-year-old bettered his previous World record set back in 2005 by 11em with his opening jump of 5.44m, which was enough to secure the gold medal.
“I feel really happy to beat the world record I set eight years ago, it is a great performance,” said Pavlyk.
Another Polish record breaker was London gold medallist Maciej Lepiato, who improved his own World record in the F42/44 High Jump, clearing 2.13m.
“It's a very good day for Poland and for me winning a gold medal and breaking a record is fantastic,” Lepiato said. “Each first attempt was a success, I am in very good physical condition."
Kaedi sets quartet of records
Iran’s Paralympic champion Mohsen Kaedi broke the World record four times on his way to Javelin F33/34 gold, finishing with a best of 43.41m. Great Britain’s Aled Davies won gold in the Shot Put F42 with a World record effort of 14.71m.
Spain’s David Casinos successfully retained his World title to add to the Paralympic gold he won last year with victory in the Discus F11. Long jump T46 gold went to China’s Paralympic champion Fuliang Liu.
In the women’s Shot Put F58, Mexico’s defending champion Angeles Ortiz saved her best until last with a final throw of 11.43m to retain the title she won two years ago in New Zealand. Ortiz’s throw was a new championship record, just three centimetres ahead of Bulgaria’s Stela Eneva, with Algeria’s Nassima Saifi winning bronze.
“I was not sure to win until the very end, nothing was won in advance, I am glad because the training was so intense,” said Ortiz. “I dedicate this victory to my daughter who celebrated her birthday yesterday.”
USA’s Jarryd Wallace threw down the gauntlet in the men’s 200m T44 semi-finals, setting a new World record of 22.32 despite easing up over the line.
Fellow American Tatyana McFadden also kicked off her World Championships campaign in great form, qualifying for the final of the women’s 200m T54 with a personal best of 28.41, well ahead of the field.
McFadden also made it through to the final of the 5000m T54, winning her semi-final in 12:07.60, while Switzerland’s Manuela Schaer headed the field in her semi-final in championship record time of 11:51.98.
In the men’s 200m T13, Ireland’s double Paralympic champion Jason Smyth made clear his intentions as he clocked the fastest time of the three semifinals in 21.57.
China’s Lisha Huang and USA’s Angela Ballard won 200m T53 gold and silver medals respectively at the Paralympics last year and they continued their run of form in Lyon, with straightforward wins in their semi-finals.
Italy’s Annalisa Minetti and Columbia’s Maritza Arango Buitrago won their semi-finals in the women’s 800m T11.
IPC Athletics for the IAAF