Asian stars impress at Dubai 2022 Grand Prix; Thailand finishes in top three

Asian para-athletes including Thailand’s Paralympic star Paeyo Pongsakorn came out with impressive show as the Dubai 2022 World Para Athletics Grand Prix – 13th Fazza International Para Athletics Championships came to a close last week.

Pongsakorn, who clinched triple gold at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, claimed the top positions in the 100m, 200m and 800m wheelchair T53 races to help Thailand finish in the third place in the medals table.

Overall, four Asian nations finished in top 10 of the table with Thailand in third place with 8 Gold, 11 Silver and 11 Silver to finish behind Colombia (12G, 8S, 5B) and Algeria (11G, 4S, 1B) in the table. Syria (7G, 2B), Iraq (5G, 7S, 5B) and India (5G, 6S 3B) claimed the fourth, sixth and eighth places.

For the hosts, United Arab Emirates who finished in 19th place with 17 medals, Rio 2016 Paralympics silver medallist Noura Alketbi clinched the only gold medal in women’s shotput wheelchair F32 final with a distance of 6.07m. Alketbi also set a new Asian record en route taking the silver in club 397g women F32 final.

Local favourite and UAE’s Tokyo 2020 Paralympic star Mohammed Hammadi settled for a silver in men’s wheelchair T34 race finishing behind his old rival Walid Ktila from Tunisia.

Four World Records

The Championships, hosted under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Sports Council, witnessed four World Records with Iraq’s London 2012 Paralympic medallist Ahmed Naas setting a new record in men’s javelin F40 event with an effort of 39.08m.

Besides there were 20 Continental records including 8 Asian records.

The biggest star in action last week was Switzerland wheelchair racing legend Marcel Hug who went on to win 2 Gold medals (men’s 1500m and 5000m T54) including a world record in men’s 500m T54 event.

Besides Pongsakorn, Tokyo 2020 Paralympic gold medallist Athiwat Paeng-Nuea added more two gold in Thailand’s medals tally winning the 100m and 400 m wheelchair men T54 races, while Alaa Abdulsalam shone for Syria taking the gold medals in men’s shot put and javelin wheelchair F53/54 finals.

Iraq’s Paralympic Star in Action

Iraq also had Rio 2016 Paralympic champion Garrah Tnaiash in action and he lived up to his billing winning the men’s shot put F40/41 final.

India were led by the golden performances of sprinter Pranav Prashant Desai in men’s 100m and 200m T64 races, and had two Asian record show from silver medallist Dharambir men’s Club Throw and Discus F51 events.

For Kuwait, which ended in 13th place, Faisal Sorour came out with a standout performance taking the gold medal in men’s discus F42 and men’s shotput F42 finals, and an Asian record in the former event.

The Championships kicked off the World Para Athletics’ Grand Prix season with around 500 para-athletes from 43 nations in action at the Dubai Club for People of Determination grounds last week.

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