The world’s best young Para athletes will be in action at the second edition of the World Para Athletics Junior Championships in Nottwil, Switzerland, from Thursday to Sunday.
The four-day event, which took place for the first time in 2017 at the same venue – the Sport Arena of the Swiss Paraplegic Centre – features over 320 athletes from 44 nations, and serves as a pathway for talented young athletes towards senior elite level Para athletics, major championships and Paralympic Games.
Athletes between the ages of 14 and 19 compete, and are divided in to two age categories:
• Under 20 (U20) Men and Women: Any athlete born in 2000, 2001 or 2002
• Under 17 (U17) Boys and Girls: Any athlete born in 2003, 2004 or 2005
Last year the USA topped the medals table, claiming a total of 18 gold, eight silver and 10 bronze medals, with Iran in second place and Great Britain in third.
Among the USA’s top performers were Hannah Dederick, who won golds in the U18 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m T51-54 events; Isaiah Rigo, winner of the U20 100m, 200m and 400m T51-54, and Garrison Hayes, who won the U20 shot put and discus F42-47.
This year the USA will be hoping for further success from the likes of vision impaired sprinter Noah Malone, who competes in the T12 class.
The 17-year-old has made a big impression in his home country this year, having recently clocked bests of 10.59 in the 100m and 21.31 over 200m. The World Juniors will be his first opportunity to wear the US vest.
South Africa’s double above-knee amputee Ntando Mahlangu returns to Nottwil after record-breaking performances two years ago, when he won golds in the U18 100m, 200m, 400m and long jump; as well as smashing what were then the men’s 100m and 400m T42 world records.
Another South African to watch out for is 14-year-old Simone Kruger, who competes in the F38 class. Last year the talented thrower won double gold at the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS) Youth World Games.
This season, Kruger tops the senior world rankings in both the shot put and discus F38, having thrown 10.16m and 33.09m respectively.
Great Britain sends a team of 15 to the Championships, including Nottwil 2017 champion Karim Chan, who competes in the long jump T20, and has already extended his personal best this year to 6.33m.
India has the biggest delegation in Nottwil with 26 athletes followed by Spain with 23 and Germany and USA both with 20.
More information, including start lists, results and visitor information, can be found at https://www.nottwil2019.ch/