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Grimaldi Claims Third Successive Para Worlds Long Jump Silver

On a sun-drenched morning in Kobe, Anna Grimaldi banked a silver medal in the women’s long jump T47 final at the 2024 Para Athletics World Championships in Kobe to add to her impressive collection of podium finishes on the global stage.

The two-time Paralympic long jump champion added to the women’s 100m T47 bronze she snared last Sunday to complete an excellent all-round effort in Japan with a best of 5.84m (-0.9) but on this occasion could not deny Kiara Rodiguez a hat-trick of Para world titles after the Ecuadorian athlete soared out to a best of a 6.17m (0.1) to clinch gold. Petra Luteran of Hungary with a PB of 5.66m (1.7) seized the bronze medal.

The gold and silver medallists served up another absorbing head-to-head showdown with Grimaldi taking an early lead with a first round jump of 5.72m (1.1) only for the Ecuadorian to respond by soaring out to 5.83m (-1.3) to dislodge the Kiwi.

While Grimaldi registered a foul in round two, Rodriguez makes a huge statement by flying out to a huge season’s best of 6.05m (0.8) to take a commanding advantage. Behind, Petra Luteran of Hungary smashed out a breakthrough PB to loom within just 6cm of the New Zealander.

Grimaldi made a 7cm improvement in round three with a 5.79m (2.1) jump, however the classy Rodriguez further underlined her class by leaping out to 6.00m (1.7) with her third effort.

Following the reordering halfway through the competition the Kiwi broke the sand at 5.65m (0.9) with her fourth round jump with Rodriguez further strengthening her position with a season’s best of 6.09m (1.5).

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Grimaldi soared out to her best of the day in round five, posting 5.84m (-0.9), however the South America bounded out to a huge 6.17m (0.1) – within just 6cm of her world and championship record set in Paris last year to tighten her grip on gold.

The Kiwi rounded out her competition with a 5.76m effort (0.9) to bank a fifth Para World medal of her career. Rodriguez completed an outstanding series by registering 6.01m (-0.4) with the concluding jump of the competition.

Grimaldi, who claimed her third successive Para world long jump T47 silver medal said, “I feel grateful to be jumping. It’s been a rocky road since returning from last year’s world champs, I’ve had injuries and I’ve only done two comps since July last year. For this to be the third comp (of the year) to be jumping up in the 5.80s and in the medals is exciting. I have to remind myself that there is still 90 plus days to Paris. To bring home the silver today, I’m really chuffed.”

On Rodiguez she said: “She is amazing and so good for the sport. She is pushing the ceiling of what I thought was possible. For so long six metres has been a bar but for her to jump 6.17m and the world record to be 6.23m is amazing for our event.”

On winning two medals here in Kobe she added: “I never thought winning two medals would ever be a possibility for me and my career and to have done it both here in Kobe and in Paris (at the 2023 Para Athletics World Championships) is a kind of pinch me moment to know I can be in the medals in the 100m and the long jump.”

Earlier, Mitch Joynt cruised into the final of the men’s 200m T64 without any hitches. Following the late withdrawal of Paralympic champion Sherman Isidro Guity Guity of Costa Rica from heat one - the Kiwi’s task became a little more straightforward in his quest to bank one of the three automatic berths for the final.

After making a solid start the 29-year-old Aucklander rounded the bend and comfortably eased into a top three position before cruising across the line in third, clocking a season’s best of 23.50 (-0.3). Out front, Italian Francesco Loragno in a PB of 23.03 took the heat win ahead of Jesus Castillo of Peru (23.41).

Victory in the second heat was taken by the impressive Brazilian Wallison Andre Fortes in a season’s best of 22.78 (-0.1) to lead the qualifiers for the final. Joynt progressed into the medal race the sixth fastest qualifier as he seeks a second successive Para Athletics World Championships medal after winning bronze in Paris at the previous edition last July.

The men’s 200m T64 final takes place at 10.15pm (NZT) and forms the final track event of the nine-day programme at the Kobe Universiade Memorial Stadium.

Anna Grimaldi. Photo credit: Augusto Bizzi

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