World Para Athletics Championships Team Preview
A New Zealand team of 15 has arrived in Dubai for the 2019 World Para Athletics Championships, joining more than 1,400 athletes from 120 nations who will compete at the event.
Leading the line-up is Paralympic and Commonwealth Games F46 javelin silver medallist Holly Robinson. This is the third World Para Athletics Championships for the Otago-local, who is the current F46 javelin world record holder after throwing a massive 45.73m in April. With a bronze at the event in 2015 and silver in 2017, gold is on the horizon.
It will be the fifth championships for veteran Jess Gillan (nee. Hamill), who has seen a return to form in recent months after enduring and recovering from multiple leg fractures in 2018. The experienced F34 shot put ace, currently ranked third in the world, has snagged a silver and bronze at the past two Championships.
Rio 2016 Paralympic Games gold medallist Anna Grimaldi will compete in the T47 long jump and 100m. Anna secured bronze in the T47 long jump at the 2015 Championships and was just 1cm off a medal at the Championships in 2017. Double Paralympic bronze medallist William Stedman will compete in the T36 100m, 400m & long jump.
Keegan Pitcher returns for his second World Para Athletics Championships, after winning bronze in the T36 400m and 800m in 2017. A change in classification since 2017 from T36 to T38 and a shift to the T38 1500 will provide a new challenge for the 21 year old. Also competing in her second Championships will be Caitlin Dore, who made the switch to F37 shot put and discus in 2017 after competing in the javelin at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
This will be the first Championships for 23-year-old Jacob Phillips, who was ruled out of the 2015 championships after being diagnosed with stage 2 Hodgkin's Lymphoma, but came back stronger than ever, making his international debut at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. Jacob will compete in the T35 100m and 200m.
Also on World Para Athletics Championships debut will be Josh Lush (T20 long jump), Danielle Aitchison (T36 100m & 200m), Jack Lewer (F20 shot put), Ben Tuimaseve (F37 shot put), Anna Steven (T64 100m & 200m), Libby Leikis (T37 200m) and Mitch Joynt (T64 100m & 200m), along with Lisa Adams, the current F37 shot put world number one and record holder, who will compete in both the shot put and discus.