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A final leap towards glory | Australia’s para athletes eye Paralympics from world stage in Kobe

Published Tue 05 Mar 2024

As the Paris Paralympic Games draw near, a select group of 20 Australian para athletes are gearing up for their final international competition before the big dance, with the 2024 World Para Athletics Championships taking place in Kobe, Japan from 17-25 May.

Less than a year since the last edition, the 2024 World Para Athletics Championships serve as a litmus test for the country’s finest para athletes ahead of the Games as well as a stepping stone for athletes as they compete to secure crucial qualification spots for Australia at Paris 2024.

Headlining the charge will be reigning world and Paralympic champion James Turner (ACT, Iryna Dvoskina) competing in the 400m T36, along with world record holders Vanessa Low (ACT, T61, Scott Reardon) and Michael Roeger (SA, T46, Philo Saunders) and eight other global medallists as they push the boundaries of what is possible in para sport.

For Turner, success in Kobe is not just about individual glory or representing Australia on one of the biggest stages, but it is how he intends to set the tone for what promises to be a highly competitive Paralympic Games in Paris.

“This season in Australia has given me a lot of confidence in myself, my coach and all the support that I have around me and I know I am ready for what’s to come in Kobe,” Turner said.

“Kobe is the testing ground of what I will use to prepare myself for Paris. I’d like to run well, execute a well-planned race and really set myself up so that I know that it’s all systems go when we travel to the Paralympics later this year.”

While the big guns of the Australian para athletics scene will come out firing, so will the emerging stars of the sport as they continue to make waves following last year’s Championships. Athletes such as Samuel Rizzo (T54, VIC, Richard Colman) who last month broke Australian legend Kurt Fearnley’s 13-year-old 1500m T54 record, and World Para Athletics Championships finalist Abby Craswell (T36, QLD, Andrew Craswell and Sebastian Kuzminski) are ready to make their mark.

“It is an honour to be given the opportunity to represent Australia in the green and gold again. Having the ability to chase my dreams representing Australia on such a massive stage is a privilege,” Craswell said.

“I am there to win and run a PB, and to compete to gain further racing experience on the international stage and secure an A qualifier. Securing another spot for Australia in Paris is also a big driver of mine to do my very best.”

With just 73 days until the World Para Athletics Championships and 176 days until the Paris Paralympic Games, athletes have their eyes laser focussed, aware of the task at hand and the importance of their performances in Kobe.

“The World Para Athletics Championships in Kobe represents a pivotal moment for our athletes as they gear up for the ultimate challenge in Paris,” Athletics Australia General Manager – High Performance, Andrew Faichney said.

“Each of these athletes selected has shown promise to either achieve medals at the Paralympic Games or contribute to our allocation of quota positions, and we have every faith in these athletes that it will further ignite the fire in their belly to compete at their best and do the country proud.”

At the 2023 World Para Athletics Championships, the Australian team finished with three gold, eight silver and three bronze medals.

Australian Team at the 2024 World Para Athletics Championships in Kobe, Japan:


100m: Chad Perris (T13, ACT, Matt Beckenham), Luke Bailey (T54, NSW, Andrew Dawes), Jaydon Page (T47, ACT, Sebastian Kuzminski), Sam Carter (T54, ACT, Fred Periac)

400m: James Turner (T36, ACT, Iryna Dvoskina)

1500m: Michael Roeger (T46, SA, Philo Saunders), Samuel Rizzo (T54, VIC, Richard Colman), Jaryd Clifford (T12, VIC, Philo Saunders), Deon Kenzie (T38, TAS, Mike Gunson & Philo Saunders)

Long Jump: Nicholas Hum (T20, VIC, John Boas), Ari Gesini (T38, ACT, Sebastian Kuzminski)

Javelin: Corey Anderson (F38, QLD, Lukas Cannon), Jackson Hamilton (F13, WA, Morgan Ward)


100m: Abby Craswell (T36, QLD, Andrew Craswell and Sebastian Kuzminski), Ella Pardy (T38, WA, Danny Kevan), Sarah Clifton-Bligh (T33, NSW, Louise Sauvage)

200m: Mali Lovell (T36, NSW, Katie Edwards and Melinda Gainsford-Taylor)

800m: Sarah Clifton-Bligh (T33)

Long Jump: Vanessa Low (T61, ACT, Scott Reardon), Sarah Walsh (T64, ACT, Matt Beckenham)

Shot Put: Sarah Clifton-Bligh (F32)

Discus: Samantha Schmidt (F38, QLD, Ralph Newton)

By Sascha Ryner, Athletics Australia
Posted: 5/3/2024