Preview: Athletics oozes quality at IWAS World Games 2022
An impressive 19 Paralympic medallists will take to the Complexo Desportivo track and field at the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS) World Games 2022 in Vila Real de Santo Antonio from 25-28 November.
Amongst them are four gold, seven silver and six bronze medallists from Tokyo 2020 as well as a raft of Paralympians and international debutants. All athletes are focusing on one thing – the road to the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.
Here are the highlights from a stacked field, by country.
On paper Algeria are the strongest team with seven podium finishers from Tokyo 2020.
The country historically excels in the field events and Vila Real de Santo Antonio is unlikely to be any different.
Asmahane Boudjahar and Safia Dejelal are the Paralympic champions in the women’s shot put F33 and F57, respectively.
Boudjahar retained her title from Rio 2016 in Japan whilst Dejelal topped her first podium. Dejelal is also the silver medallist in the javelin F57 from London 2012.
Nassima Saifi finished out of the medals behind Dejelal in the shot put last year but did claim silver in the discus F57. And Mounia Gasmi grabbed bronze, also in the shot put, in the F32.
In the men’s, over on the track, Abdelkrim Krai returns as the silver medallist from the 1,500m T38.
On the field Kamel Kardjena and Walid Ferhah are the current shot put F33 and club throw F32 silver and bronze medallists.
Leading the field for Poland are another golden duo: Roza Kozakowska and Renata Sliwinska.
Kozakowska is a rival to Algeria’s Gasmi in the women’s club throw F32 having won gold at Tokyo 2020. The Pole, who made her Paralympic debut last year, is also a podium finisher from the shot put.
Sliwinska is the women’s shot put F40 Paralympic title-holder.
Lucyna Kornobys is another shot put silver medallist for Poland, in the women’s F34.
Heading-up the men’s efforts is Lech Stoltman, the Tokyo 2020 bronze medal winner in the shot put F55.
Highlighting the Latvian team is triple men’s discus F52 Paralympic champion Aigars Apinis.
Apinis won his first discus gold at Athens 2004, following that up at Beijing 2008 and reclaiming the title he then lost at London 2012, at Rio 2016.
He lost it once again at Tokyo 2020 but still left with bronze, proving he is still amongst the best in the world.
Also prolific in field events are India. Three of their IWAS World Games 2022 team have silver medals.
Showing great flare in the jumping events at Tokyo 2020 were Nishad Kumar in the men’s high jump T47 and Praveen Kumar in the high jump T44.
Jogesh Kathuniya represented stepped on the second step of the podium for his country in the shot put F56.
A duo of Czech throwers will take to the circle as Tokyo 2020 bronze medallists: Anna Luxova in the women’s shot put F35 and Ales Kisv in the men’s shot put F53.
Kiara Rodriguez achieved a dream debut at Tokyo 2020, winning bronze in the women’s long jump T46.
About the IWAS World Games
Designed to give aspiring Paralympians and emerging athletes their first taste of international competition, the Games have helped produce many of the world’s big name stars.
It is the formula of established athletes competing against the next generation that makes the IWAS World Games so unique and helped it to develop into one of the world’s largest sporting events for athletes with physical impairments.