Australia is certainly making its presence felt at the 9th World Para-Athletics Championships in Dubai with another multi-medal winning performance on Day 7 of competition.
Four medals were collected from five finals featuring Australians – silver for Chad Perris (men’s T13), silver for Madison de Rozario (women’s 5000m), bronze for Rhiannon Clarke (women’s 200m T38) and bronze for Guy Henly (men’s discus F37).
It’s the second day in a row Australia has snared four medals.
Currently Australia sits 7th on the overall medal table with 6 gold, 6 silver, 7 bronze.
For Henly, who stands 203.2cm, he hurled the discus 51.43m to earn his fourth medal at his fourth world championships in a row. That’s now bronze 2013, silver 2015, silver 2017, and bronze 2019.
“When you look at that it makes me feel like it’s been a long time (competing),” Henly said.
“The key is not thinking about other people’s throwing but to run my own race so to speak. I just stayed in my own bubble and think about the queues from training, like grind my foot in the circle and then rip it. It really paid off.”
Henly was in silver medal position until the last round when Brazil’s Teixeira de Souza let a 52.76m throw fly.
“I wasn’t disappointed. It was a really tough and close competition. It’s a privilege to compete for Australia and get a medal.
“It gives me a stepping stone to the next (Paralympics). I was in Rio and got fourth so it would be really nice to back this up and do well in Tokyo.”
Perris – the sprinter they call the ‘White Tiger’ – handled his 100m heat with aplomb, registering the second fastest qualifying time (10.87s) across the 20 competitors.
He ran 0.10s outside his season best for silver (10.86s) in the final, which he puts down to fluffing the start.
“My start wasn’t great but I managed to come through and get the silver done. It feels pretty special.
“It’s good to get out here and win silver. It’s one thing in the 100 that I haven’t got quite got past that bronze medal until tonight,” he said of bronze at the Rio Paralympics and bronze again a year later at the London worlds in 2017.
“I’ve got a short turn around now so I’ll be getting faster in Tokyo.”
De Rozario’s silver on Wednesday night in the 5000m gave her a 100% strike rate in Dubai – three events; three medals. She took silver in the 1500m and gold in the 800m.
“There was a lot going on in that race so silver was good. Every worlds I’ve been to I’ve been upping my medal tally so I’m happy enough,” she said, or her 5000m silver in 12m:14.62s.
“I’m pushing better on the track now that I have because I’ve been focusing a lot on the road (marathons). I was in Chicago two weeks ago so it’s been a really short turn-around. But I’ve got a really good base I can build on now.”
Eliza Ault-Connell finished 9th in 12m:17.79.
For 17-year-old Clarke she also leaves Dubai with medals in each of her events – the 100m Tuesday and then bronze again in the 200m tonight (26.79s). Ella Pardy was 5th in 27.61s
“I’m really shocked at that 200 result – wow. I don’t know where it came from, but I just felt strong and got a kick going,” she said.
“I’ve still got a bit of work to do I guess but all the hard work is paying off.”
High jumper Aaron Chatman did not have his best night in the men’s T47 final, for arm amputees.
He has two silver medals from previous world championships (2006, 2017) but a niggling left ankle injury led to a 5th tonight in Dubai 1.87m.
In other action on the track, James Turner looks on course for another medal as he finished fastest qualifier in the men’s 400m (T36) heats in 55.67s ahead of Thursday’s final. He won gold in the 100m last Sunday.
Jake Lappin ended a heavy worlds campaign with the 5000m heats on Wednesday morning, after racing the 400m, 800m and 1500m events earlier in the program.
The two-time Paralympian finished 5th in this heat (10m:35.12s) to miss the cut for Wednesday night’s final.
By Michael Angus and Margie McDonald