Van Rhijn Smashes 400m World Record in Nottwil
Author: International Paralympic Committee : Contact: www.paralympic.org
Marlou Van Rhijn was in form on the final day of the IPC Athletics Grand Prix and smashed her own 400m T43 world record.
Main DigestRunning less than 24 hours after winning the 100m at the Great City Games in Manchester, Great Britain, 22-year-old Van Rhijn ran 1:00.78 to take 0.32 seconds off her previous best time set last June in Berlin, Germany.
"It was pretty nice," said Van Rhijin who won two world titles last year as well as Paralympic gold at London 2012. "I really practiced for the 400m over the winter season however, you can only run a good 400m in competition which I haven't done a lot of yet.
"I'm happy with the world record but want to get it under 60 seconds now."
Three Russian world champions also enjoyed great success setting new world records. Dimitrii Safronov (56.61) set a new T35 400m mark after taking almost four seconds off the previous best set by Algeria's Allel Boukhalfa (1:00.55) at the 2011 World Championships. His teammate Andrei Vdovin (51.67) also knocked 0.21 seconds off the 400m T37 best which had been set at last year's World Championships in Lyon, France by fellow Russian Chermen Kobesov.
In the field, Vladimir Sviridov (14.73m) added 3cm to his own shot put F36 world record.
Belgium's Marieke Vervoort capped a memorable comeback weekend winning her 5,000m T52 race in an unofficial world record of 14:47.55. Her time was more than 50 seconds quicker than the previous best set in October 1999.
After losing out to Marcel Hug in the 800m, 1,500m and 10,000m in Nottwil, Great Britain's David Weir upstaged not just the world champion, but Germany's Marc Schuh and the Netherlands' Kenny Van Weeghel, the other podium finishers from last year's World Championships, in a thrilling 400m T54.
Drawn in lane eight, Weir (47.50) showed his trademark grit and determination to finish ahead of Hug (47.62) for victory.
"It's been a long time since I've won a 400m. After Beijing I retired from it because I was so disappointed with the final," said Weir who won 400m silver in 2008.
"It's good to beat the guys who train for the 400m. I'm happy now as I've got a win but not in the distance I thought I'd win.
"I knew I had to wind it up and knew they'd catch me on the bends, but I knew I had a bit more drive down the home straight."
Hug soon got his revenge in the afternoon session winning a thrilling 5,000m T54 to make it four wins out of five against Weir in Nottwil. A group of six athletes broke away halfway through the race and took it in turns to set the pace making for a frantic finish. Like at London 2012, Weir (10:21.73) crept up on Hug's shoulder with 200m to go, however the `Swiss Silver Bullet' (10:21.60) had the stronger finish to take the win. Japan's Masayuki Higuchi (10:22.20) again finished third.
"It was tough and fast," said Hug who has competed in every race this weekend from the 100m through to the 10,000m "We all worked together and I was looking for a good position waiting for David to come round on the final bend.
"It feels good to win. I know I'm in good form, but as always I know David is very good at focusing on the big events and he'll be ready for Swansea 2014."
Despite the loss, Weir was happy with his performance and already looking ahead to the August's European Championships: "It was a high tempo. It's nice that I've got that confidence back of doing a fast few laps with the boys so we can get the times down again as they were getting really slow and boring, with just a sprint at the end.
"Swansea will be great battle, like it is all the time. I love racing Marcel, he's a great athlete and he will become the dominant force in wheelchair racing."
The day started with a number of women's 400m races. Great Britain's multi Paralympic and world champion Hannah Cockroft (1:03.29) won the T34 class and victories soon followed for Australia's Angela Ballard (57.10) in the T53 class and home favorite Manuela Schar (57.03) in the T54 race, adding to her victories in the 800m and 1,500m from Saturday.
"It could have been faster as I'm always trying to go under 57 seconds," said Schar who in the afternoon session won the 5,000m in 12:26.45.
"I'm really happy with my 1,500m and 800m from yesterday [Saturday]. It was not easy due to the conditions as it was a little windy. I'm really happy with my form right now.
"This gives me a lot of confidence ahead of August's European Championships."
In the men's 400m races, there were victories for Kuwait's Ahmad Almutairi (1:01.14) in the T33 class, Tunisia's Walid Ktila (51.76) in the T34, Russia's Alexey Kotlov (50.57) in the men's T12-13/T43-47, Mexico's Edgar Navarro (1:27.33) in the T51, Austria's Thomas Geierspichler (1:04.70) in the T52 and Canada's Brent Lakatos in the T53.
Winners in the other men's 5,000m races included Brazil's Odair Santos (16.08.08) in the T11-T46 and Germany's Stefan Strobel (21:28.29) in the T51.
In the field Ireland's Catherine O'Neil (4.76m/621 points) won the women's F33-F57 discus, Russia's Svetlana Krivenok (8.84m/726 points) the women's shot put F37-38, Russia's Nikitia Prokhorov (15.57m/977points) the men's shot put F42/46, UAE's Ahmed Alhosani (23.70m/594points) the men's discus F32/33 F51-57 and Russia's Alexey Ashapatov (42.55m/876 points) in the men's F53-57 discus.
Closing the day were two long jump competitions which were won by Russia's Evgeniy Shvetcov (5.28m/960points) F12-13,F36-37,F43-46 and Great Britain's Stef Reid (5.16m/912 points) in the women's F11,F37-38,F44-46.
For the results from Nottwil, please visit: www.rollstuhlsportevents.ch/de/events_2014/2014_leichtathletik_parathletics_ipc_athletics_grand_prix/
The next IPC Athletics Grand Prix will take place in Grosseto, Italy on the weekend of 28-29 May.
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