UAE’s Noura Al Ketbi competes in the women’s shot put F32 finals at the Dubai 2023 World Para Athletics Grand Prix.
Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
The Dubai 2023 World Para Athletics Grand Prix 14th Fazza Para Athletics International Championships got off to an exciting start with two world and regional records marking the opening day of the competitions on Sunday.
Iran’s Yasin Khosravi (men’s shot put F57), Kuwait’s Faisal Surour (men’s shot put F38) and Switzerland’s Catherine Debrunner (women’s 800m T53) hogged the limelight on the opening day setting new world records even as China showed a strong show returning to international competitions after two years.
UAE’s Rio 2016 silver medallist Noura Al Ketbi claimed the first medal for UAE winning the bronze in women’s shot put F32 finals with a throw of 6.02 m. She finished behind Ukraine’s Anastasiia Moskalenko (6.63 m) and Algeria’s Mounia Gasmi (6.30 m).
The UAE player took the medal in the presence of special guests from the Welfare Sports Festival for People of Determination – former World Cup stars Carlos Dunga and Aldair, Arnaldo de Oliveira, Wolfgang Rolff, Kuwaiti Waleed Ali, and Jordanian Abdullah Abu Zema among others.
In the women’s 800m T53, Swiss star Catherine Debrunner, who has been nominated to the prestigious Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability Award, set a new world record finishing the race in 1:42.09 mins ahead of Great Britain’s Samantha Kinghorn (1:46.75 mins) and Zhou Hongzhuan (1:52.10 mins).
Meanwhile, Khosravi threw the shot put to 15.46 m to finish ahead of Uzbekistan’s Yorkinbek Odilov (12.46m) and Vitolio Kavakava of France (11.55 m) in men’s shot put F57 finals, enough for setting a new world record, while Surour achieved a record distance of 16.46m ahead of Ahmed Ben Moslah (15.42 m), Ukraine’s Mykola Zhabnyak (14.04 m) men’s shot put F38.
Home favourite and Paralympic medallist Mohamed Alhammadi settled for fifth place in the men’s 800 m wheelchair T34 race which was won by China’s Yang Wang in 1:40.93 mins.
Tunisian five-time Paralympic champion Walid Ktila settled for the bronze in 1:44.06 mins. The world record holder later admitted that he wasn’t happy with his timing. “It was a good race. The timing wsn’t great but I am happy I could execute the tactic. The races are going to be tough with China and Thailand racers coming out strong. I will work on my technique and tactics and want to win in the next three events going into the World Championships,” said Ktila.
Iran also had more glory in men’s javelin with Hamed Amiri winning the men’s javelin wheelchair F54 final with a throw of 30.35m.
In men’s long jump T47, it was China’s Hao Wang claiming the gold with a 6.67m jump.
In women’s 800 m wheelchair final T34, it was a British podium sweep with Hannah Cockroft (1:51.46min) taking the gold ahead of Kare Adenegan (2:01.62min) and Fabienne Andre (2:14.07min).
“It’s been really the start of the year. We are pushing hard to make it to the British team for the World Championships, so wanted to do well here. We are happy with the timing; its lot quicker than expected at the start of the year,” said Cockroft, who broke the world record at the recent Sharjah International Open meet.