IPC Athletics Worlds raises the bar in Doha

 26 Oct 2015 - 0:00

IPC Athletics Worlds raises the bar in Doha
Italian para-athletes Giusy Versace and Martina Caironi take selfies with schoolchildren at Qatar Sports Club yesterday.

DOHA:  In a bid to raise awareness about para-sports, Italian starlets Martina Caironi and Giusy Versace took time out of their ongoing hunt for medals and glory at Qatar Sports Club yesterday to meet with several hundreds of schoolchildren who attended the World Championships. The competitive action continued on day 4 with more world records broken causing the schoolchildren to go wild with excitement at what they saw.
Caironi, silver medalist in the T42 Long Jump final on the opening day, and Versace, a competitor in yesterday’s 200m T44 final and an ambassador for the Doha 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships, left children inspired by their incredible stories.
Speaking after the visit, Caironi said: “It was cool to meet the children this morning.  It felt good to tell them something about the races and different kinds of disabilities, and about my legs. They were very curious and I answered all their questions. They were really nice.”
Giusy Versace also featured in the Organising Committee’s My Incredible Story film series and spoke openly to the schoolchildren about the car accident that caused her to lose her legs and how she competes in athletics with prosthetic legs. 
She said: “Children are the future. I explained how I lost my legs and they wanted to touch my [prosthetic] legs. I was very happy to meet them. They can change the way people look at disability. Doha is in my heart because I am an Ambassador for Save the Dream. I love this place. Everything has been well organised, the people are very polite and want to help you, the food is good, the transport works perfectly. It’s a really big experience.”
Meanwhile at the track, excited spectators had turned up for the fourth day of incredible competition on show in Doha. First up was the men’s F35 shot-putters, where the Iranian Seyedmohsen Hosseinipanah secured the third gold medal for his country narrowly ahead of Edgars Bergs of Latvia.
There was, however, glory to come for team Latvia in the men’s F52 Discus Throw final, courtesy of Aigars Apinis’s phenomenal 21.44m throw which demolished the previous world record by 0.16m. Algeria’s Mohamed Berrahal came into this final as the world record holder in the F51 category (both F51 and F52 athletes compete together), but despite finishing down in the overall positions, he delivered a spectacular throw midway through which catapulted him into a new F51 world record of 13.17m. Shortly after it was time for the first women’s F54 Shot Put final, with reigning world record holder Maria Bogacheva from Russia the clear-cut favourite going into the competition. Chinese counterpart Liwan Yang was not going to let that stop her though, as she rose to the top to claim gold.
The second women’s Shot Put final was in the F55 category where Britain’s outsider Claire Harvey was chasing the world record of 9.06m set by her opposite German number, Marianne Buggenhagen, in the Athens 2004 Paralympics. 
As the competition progressed, however, it was clear that there could be only one winner, with the German in unstoppable mood. While Harvey never got going and ended the final in fifth place, Buggenhagen’s team-mate Marie Hawkeswood duly delivered and clinched second.
Speaking after Germany’s dominant performance, newly crowned World Champion Buggenhagen said: “It was a wonderful experience here in Doha. My next aim is the Rio 2016 Paralympics where I intend to claim the gold. Although I haven’t managed to see the city of Doha, the organisation of the event has been amazing.” In the men’s T12 High Jump event the stage was set for an almighty show from Belarus who copied Germany’s feat in the event before by occupying the top two places on the podium. Siarhei Burdukou took the gold medal jumping 1.89m, just 4 centimetres ahead of his close friend Ihar Fartunau and Russia’s Andrey Shashko. 
“Finally I won the gold medal, it’s a dream come true! I won the bronze in Lyon 2013 in triple jump and since then I have been aiming for the gold here in Doha! I have succeeded here and I have achieved my dream – it’s fantastic!” a moved Burdukou said on a special day both for himself and his country watching from afar.
The fourth Shot Put spectacle this morning was the men’s F38 final which saw overwhelming favourite Oleksands Doroshenko of Ukraine take the gold medal, closely followed by South Africa’s Reinhardt Hamman and Czech Republic’s Petr Vratil.

The Peninsula