Four-time world champion Walid Ktila will head hosts Tunisia's push for gold medals as the third leg of the 2015 International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Athletics Grand Prix series gets underway in Tunis tomorrow.
Ktila, who competes predominantly in the T34 middle distance events, is set to take on the 100 metres, 200m, 400m and 800m having secured a clean sweep of victories at the season-opening Grand Prix event in Dubai.
The three-day event, which doubles as the ninth Tunis International Meeting, marks the second consecutive year that a Grand Prix has been held in Africa, and more specifically Tunis.
More than 220 athletes from 20 countries are set to battle for medals at the Tunisian capital's Rades Athletics Stadium.
Ktila believes the Grand Prix is vital for the development of Para-athletics in Tunisia and beyond.
"Our meeting is very important," said the 29-year-old.
"I hope the presence of a large number of foreign athletes will help increase levels of competitiveness and I am proud that our Tunisian [Paralympic] Committee continues to organise this meeting in my country.
"The meeting provides an opportunity for athletes of Tunisia and Africa to participate in major Para-athletics events, to participate in classification, to get to know other athletes from around the world, and of course to have good results."
Among Tunisia's other main male medal hopes are Paralympic champion Abderrahim Zhiou in the T12 1500m event, as well as world number two Yassine Gharbi in the T54 800m, and Paralympic silver medallist Mohamed Charmi in the T37 800m.
Paralympic shot put champion Raoua Tlili leads the women's charge having triumphed in her three chosen events in Dubai - the shot put, discus and javelin - and set a discus F41 world record in the process.
Another strong female contender is Hania Aidi, a gold medallist in the javelin F54, 55 and 56 at the 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships, who tops the F54 global rankings in both the javelin and shot put.
On the international front, Algerian trio Kamel Kardjena, Karim Betina and Mounir Bakiri, gold, silver and bronze medallists respectively at London 2012 and the 2013 World Championships, will go head-to-head once more in the men's shot put.
Mohamed Berrahal, also of Algeria, will be the favourite in the men's discus having thrown 13.16m in the F51, 52 and 53 at the 2013 World Championships to break his own world record.
All eyes will be on France's Mandy Francois-Elie, the T37 200m world champion, as she takes to the field, while compatriot Marie-Amelie Le Fur, who clinched F44 long jump silver at both the 2013 World Championships and 2014 European Championships, will be hoping for a strong performance.
The 2015 IPC Athletics Grand Prix series features 10 different events, including a first ever in Oceania.
This ensures that major Para-athletics meetings will be held in all five continents for the first time.
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