The best para athletes of track and field are gathering in Dubai, UAE for the 2019 World Para Athletics Championships from 7-15 November.
It’s the final Worlds before Tokyo 2020 with more than 1,400 athletes from 122 countries taking part.
There will be 95 men’s and 76 women’s events at the Dubai Club for People of Determination, plus one mixed universal 4×100m relay.
Olympic Channel will bring you all the coverage, with live streams (territorial restrictions may apply) as well as a daily live blog following all the developments at they happen in Dubai.
Tokyo 2020 qualification
Spots for the Paralympics in the Japanese capital are on the line in Dubai.
The top four athletes in 90 men’s and 72 women’s events, and the top four teams in the mixed universal relay, will secure a quota spot for their National Paralympic Committee.
However, athletes cannot earn more than one spot, and so quotas earned from multiple events will be re-allocated. This includes athletes who have already secured their tickets to the Paralympics by virtue of placing in the top four at this year’s London Marathon, which doubled as the World Championships marathon event.
USA’s Daniel Romanchuk, Switzerland’s Marcel Hug, Tomoki Suzuki of Japan, and China’s Dai Yunqiang – the top four finishers in the T54 male wheelchair marathon in London – are therefore unable to clinch further quota spots for their countries through the Dubai World Championships.
T12 (visual impairment) world record holder Amin El-Chentouf, who won that category in London, also cannot secure another Tokyo 2020 spot for Morocco in Dubai.
Para athletics classifications
As with all Paralympic sport, athletes are classified into different sport classes based on each individual’s type and degree of impairment.
Athletes must meet minimum disability criteria to be eligible to compete in para athletics, with classification aiming to level the playing field between different impairments. The general idea behind classification is that athletes with impairments that would affect their athletics performance to a similar level will compete together in the same sport class.
The lower the number within each impairment type, the more severe the impairment to the athlete. In para athletics, sport classes start with a ‘T’ (track and jump events) or an ‘F’ (field throwing events).
Athletes are classed by visual impairments (T and F11 to 13), intellectual impairment (T and F20), co-ordination impairments (T and F31 to 34 in wheelchairs/seated; T and F35-38 standing), short stature (T and F40 to 41), lower limb impairments without the uses of prostheses (T and F42-44), upper limb impairments (T and F45 to 47), other limb deficiencies requiring a wheelchair or seat (T and F51 to 57), and lower limb impairments with prostheses (T and F61 to 64).
Athletes to watch
Two of the biggest Para athletics stars of recent years, Jonnie Peacock and Tatyana McFadden, will not be in Dubai.
T44 sprinter Peacock has been unable to recover from injury, which leaves the path clear for Germany’s Johannes Floors to take the 100m title after finishing second behind the Briton at the 2017 Worlds.
Floors won 200m, 400m and sprint relay gold in London and will be hoping to add to his already impressive medal collection.
Meanwhile, wheelchair racer McFadden opted to focus on the New York City Marathon the weekend before the championships where she finished second.
McFadden’s younger sister Hannah will be in the UAE as part of a 63-strong American squad
Great Britain’s Kadeena Cox, a two-sport athlete, is back for more metal having recently struggled with her mental health and eating disorders. The Paralympic champion in both para athletics and para cycling is aiming for a third Para Athletics world title.
Five-time Paralympic and eight-time world champion Omara Durand of Cuba will be out to defend her status as the world’s fastest female Paralympian, with the T12 visually impaired sprinter holding the fastest 100m time in Paralympic competition.
Other top female athletes to keep an eye on include former German Paralympic champion long jumper Vanessa Low, making her World Champions debut for her new country Australia, and her main rival in the T63 long jump, Martina Caironi of Italy.
On the men’s side, with the absence of Peacock, perhaps one of the bigger names competing is German T64 long jumper Markus Rehm.
The double leg amputee attempted to compete at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, but was prevented from doing so after he failed to prove he would not receive an advantage from his blades.
World T54 marathon champion Romanchuk, who competed at every distance on the track at the Rio Paralympics, is back for the 800m, 1500m and 5000m races.
The 21-year-old has shown considerable improvement in recent years to dominate the marathon, including beating Hug earlier in November to retain his New York City Marathon title.
But the Swiss is the defending champion over 800m, 1500m and 5000m and he is the man to beat with Suzuki and Dai also in the medal hunt.
And don’t forget Jason Smyth, the subject of an episode in the Olympic Channel’s original series Is It Possible?
The Irishman is unbeaten in major finals since London 2012 and will hope to clinch a fourth consecutive T13 100m world title in Dubai before bidding to add to his five Paralympic golds in Tokyo.
World Para Athletics Championships: live stream, tickets, schedule information
Olympic Channel will bring you all the coverage, with live streams (territorial restrictions may apply) as well as a daily live blog for the Championships.
General admission tickets are available, and can be bought from ticket offices at the Dubai Club for People of Determination on the day of competition. Each ticket costs 20 Emirati dirhams (around US $5.50) per session.
Finals will take place in both morning and evening sessions, with morning finals beginning on Saturday 9 November.