Indonesia 2018 Asian Para Games
Para Athletics Preview
Spectators at the para-athletics event are in for a treat with many Paralympic and World champions from across Asia attending.
One of them, China’s Hongzhuan Zhou has six Paralympic and seven world titles and is one of the world’s best T53 wheelchair racers. Her closest rivals come from outside the region so she will be hoping for a clean sweep in all four of her events in Jakarta.
Another Chinese track star is Liu Cuiqing, the T11 burst onto the para athletics scene at the Incheon 2014 Asian Para Games, winning five gold medals in both track and field (Long Jump T11/12). She then went onto dominate the 2015 Para Athletics World Championships, won two gold medals in Rio and then took a gold and silver at the 2017 Para Athletics World Championships in London. Her performances have really shaken up the T11 class and she was on blistering form earlier on this year when she smashed the 10-year-old World Record in the T11 400m, her strongest event. With Usain Bolt as her sporting hero and a motto of “make the impossible come true’, who knows what she will achieve in Jakarta.
Elsewhere on the track, expect the strong Thai men’s wheelchair racing programme to be on the podium Rawat Tana no doubt hoping to emulate his success at the last Asian Para Games in 2014 where he won four medals. The 41-year old’s long history in the sport earned him the honour of carrying the flag for Thailand at the opening ceremony of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
In the field events, India will be cheering on their Rio 2016 medallists whose achievements made big news in their country. T63 High Jumper Mariyappan Thangavelu became his country’s first Paralympic Gold medallist since 2004 when he took gold in Rio. Such was the impact of his achievement that a film has been made of his life and will be released just prior to the Asian Para Games.
Shot putter Deepa Malik became the first Indian woman to win a Paralympic medal when she took silver in the F53 event in Rio. Devendra Jahjahria became the first Indian athlete to win two Paralympic Gold medals when he won the F46 Javelin, emulating his success in at the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games.
China’s Mi Na (F38) and Liwan Yang will also be ones to watch on the in-field. Yang has been a dominant force in the T54 throwing events ever since she stood atop the podium at the London 2012 Paralympic Games. The London Olympic Stadium is clearly a lucky venue for her as she again dominated at the 2017 Para Athletics World Championships.
Iraq will be hoping that their field athletes, Kovan Abdulraheem (F41 Javelin) and Garrah Tnaiash (F40 Men’s Shot Put) can repeat their gold medal winning performances from the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
169 medals are up for grabs over six days of competition which will take place in the Main Stadium of the Gelora Bung Karno complex. It will be the final run out of the season for the athletes so they will all be hoping to end on a high note.