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Australian Para Athletics Team Poised for Paris World Championships

Published Tue 04 Jul 2023

Only four days remains before Australia’s most elite para athletes seize the global stage for the first time since 2021, when taking on the World Para Athletics Championships at Stade Charléty in Paris from July 8-19.

Led by a triumphant trio of reigning Paralympic champions James Turner, Madison de Rozario and Vanessa Low, the Australian team of 39 is set to showcase their prowess and re-affirm Australia’s status as a leader in the sport.

With the Paris Paralympics looming on the horizon, these Championships also serve as the first of two crucial opportunities for athletes to qualify for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games and set the tone with just over one year to go until the pinnacle event.

Amongst the team are seven reigning world champions (Michael Roeger, Madison de Rozario, Jaryd Clifford, James Turner, Corey Anderson, Cameron Crombie and Vanessa Low) as well as eight world record holders (Michal Burian, Evan O’Hanlon, Angus Hincksman, Reece Langdon, Low, Turner, Clifford and Roeger), all returning to the world stage to strengthen their legacies and put their rivals on notice.

Paralympic champion James Turner (100m and 400m T36) will be looking to add his sixth and seventh world titles to his growing collection and says the sting from his Tokyo loss in the 100m has only fuelled his hunger for success in Paris.

“The 100m in Tokyo really showed me some blindspots in my technique and mentality for major events. Having something to improve on has really given me a lot of motivation to, as my supercoach, Iryna Dvoskina likes to put it, to train smart,” Turner said.

The absence of international competition since then has also helped Turner get ready to grab the bull by the horns.

“The extended period between major championships has been a blessing in disguise for me. It has allowed Iryna to give me extended long term programs targeting weaker aspects of my running, while accommodating my studying aspirations of getting qualifications for life after sport. This allows me to now focus on doing what I love, and that’s running fast.”

21-time global medallist Angie Ballard will make her ninth appearance at the World Para Athletics Championships, making her the most capped Australian athlete at the prestigious global meet.

The stalwart of wheelchair racing first competed as a 16-year-old in 1998. Now 41, she’ll look to add another two strong performances in the 400m and 800m T53 to her career that has also included six Paralympics and three Commonwealth Games.

“It’s kind of funny because I still feel like I kind of am just an athlete, but I have noticed in the last two years at least that I get pointed out as the old lady in the room – you can’t forget it! The ups and downs are more still about trying to be good at your job, I feel like I could have forever and I would still be learning stuff and figuring things out,” Ballard said. 

“Different sports have different zones where people speak, but my sport is quite technical and once you are good at the technique, you are never counted out. Some of our greatest champions have won gold medals in their 40’s – it’s not a done deal and the experience helps.”

As the countdown continues, the Australian team is putting their finishing touches on preparations at the Athletics Australia staging camps in Montpellier, France and Nottwil, Switzerland where they will remain until July 6.

“Australia has had a rich history of success at the World Para Athletics Championships, but our athletes have not rested on laurels knowing that much has changed in the world of para athletics since they last donned the green and gold in Tokyo,” Athletics Australia General Manager, High Performance Andrew Faichney said.

“I can confidently say that every athlete on this 39-person squad has left no stone unturned in their endeavours, with each of them working towards peaking when it counts. There is a lot on the line in Paris and we know that whatever happens at Charlety Stadium will set up our athletes for the year ahead as we look ahead to their return in a year for the 2024 Paralympics. I’m looking forward to seeing all of our athletes thrive.”

Australians will be able to watch the World Athletics Championships live and free on 9Now, thanks to a partnership between Paralympics Australia and the Nine Network.

The Australian Team for the 2023 World Para Athletics Championships:

MEN (23)

100m: Chad Perris (T13, ACT), Rheed McCracken (T34, NSW), James Turner (T36, ACT), Evan O’Hanlon (T38, NSW), Jaydon Page (T47, ACT), Sam McIntosh (T52, VIC), Luke Bailey (T54, NSW), Sam Carter (T54, ACT)

400m: McCracken, Turner, Angus Hincksman (T38, SA), McIntosh, Carter, Bailey

800m: McCracken, Bailey, Jake Lappin (T54, ACT), Samuel Rizzo (T54, Vic)

1500m: Jaryd Clifford (T12, Vic) Daniel Milone (T20, Vic), Michael Roeger (T46, SA), Reece Langdon (T38, Vic), Deon Kenzie (T38, Tas), Hincksman, Lappin, Rizzo

5000m: Clifford, Rizzo

Long Jump: Nicholas Hum (T20, Vic), Cameron Crombie (T38, ACT)

Shot Put: Crombie (F38, ACT), Marty Jackson (F38, Vic)

Discus Throw: Guy Henly (F37, Vic)

Javelin Throw: Jackson Hamilton (F13, WA), Corey Anderson (F38, QLD), Michal Burian (F44, Vic)

WOMEN (16)

100m: Sarah Clifton-Bligh (T33, NSW), Rosemary Little (T33, NSW), Mali Lovell (T36, NSW), Abby Craswell (T36, QLD), Rhiannon Clarke (T38, WA), Ella Azura Pardy (T38, WA), Maria Strong (T72, Vic)

200m: Lovell, Craswell, Clarke, Pardy

400m: Clarke, Angie Ballard (T53, ACT)

800m: Clifton-Bligh, Ballard, Madison de Rozario (T53, WA)

1500m: de Rozario, Annabelle Colman (T20, Vic)

5000m: de Rozario

Long Jump: Vanessa Low (T61, ACT), Sarah Walsh (T64, ACT)

Shot Put: Little (F32, NSW), Strong (F33), Clifton-Bligh (F32), Dayna Crees (F34), Ella Hose (F37, Vic)

Javelin: Crees

Discus Throw: Hose, Samantha Schmidt (F38, QLD), Sarah Edmiston (F44, WA)

By Sascha Ryner, Athletics Australia
Posted: 4/7/2023