American David Prince stormed to victory in the eagerly-anticipated men’s T44 200m event to begin the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Athletics Grand Prix in style on home soil in Tempe.
Prince, who won silver at the 2013 World Championships in Lyon, France, went one better this time around as he clocked 22.80secs, 0.89 seconds ahead of teammate Jerome Singleton.
The American podium sweep was complete when Kionte Storey came through to take third to the delight of the partisan home crowd.
It proved to be a dominant day for the host nation as David Brown earned a comfortable victory in the men’s 200m T11/12 in a time of 23.21, while Shirley Reilly also cruised to a relatively straightforward win in the women’s T53 800m as she posted a time of 2:03.75.
Elsewhere, rising star Alexa Halko defied her tender years by clinching the T34 800m women’s title in 2:19.62, before she then went on to win the 200m 33/34/51/52 in 35.08.
Brian Siemann continued the American dominance as he triumphed in the men’s T52/53 800m race, finishing with a commanding time of 1:47.07.
Mexico managed to top the podium in the men’s T53/54 800m event thanks to Juan Pablo Cervantes Garcia’s 1:44.77, while American racer Troy Pruitt then wrestled back the advantage by pipping Mexican Salvador Hernandez Mondragon in the 200m race with a time of 1:51.80.
Further American victories came thanks to Michael Murray, who topped the podium in the men’s T13/36/37/38/20 800m in 2:07.90, Kyle Whitehouse, whose time of 24.20 proved enough to win the T35/36/37/38 200m race, and Kym Crosby reigned supreme in the women’s T13/35/36/37/38 200m.
Seven-time Paralympic medallist Cheri Madsen didn’t disappoint as she won the women’s T54 200m in a blistering time of 30.81, while there was also a rare success for Canada as Marissa Papaconstantinou was victorious in the T43/44/45/46 20mm competition.
Henry Cardenas Cerdas gave Costa Rica something to cheer about by taking the men’s T11/12/13/37 5,000m crown but in truth the day belonged almost entirely to the American athletes on the track.
Out in the field, where adverse weather conditions caused many of the events to be postponed, the American team carried on the form of their track counterparts as Rachael Kroener secured a F33/34 javelin and F32/33/34 shot put double.
Mexico monopolised the men’s F33/34/53/54 javelin competition, where Luis Felix left it late in producing his best throw of the day as his effort of 24.26 metres saw him beat teammate Alan Efrain Noriega Quinones.
The men’s F11/12/13/37 javelin went the way of the Americans thanks to Cody Jones’ throw of 41.77m, while Damien Orslene did enough to win the F33/34 discus by virtue of his 26.60m effort.
Action continues in Tempe, which is hosting the sixth leg of the Grand Prix series, tomorrow.
May 2015: Hosts United States name strong team for IPC Athletics Grand Prix
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April 2015: Brazil and South Africa dominate sprint events at IPC Athletics Grand Prix in Sao Paulo
April 2015: Hayes becomes world's fastest female Para-athlete on day of Brazilian success at IPC Athletics Grand Prix
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