The largest Para sport event before the 2020 Paralympic Games is set to commence today in Dubai, UAE. The 2019 World Para Athletics Championships will run from November 7 to 15 and will host more than 1,400 athletes from almost 120 nations. Dubai will be the debut world championship for the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu. While, Para Athletes, Iosefo and Inosi Matea have created history for Fiji as the first two athletes to qualify on merit.
Day one will see some of the biggest Paralympic stars in action at the Athletics Stadium of the Dubai Club for People of Determination. Below is a preview of each competing nation from the Oceania Region:
Two athletes are representing Vanuatu, Ken KAHU (Men’s Javelin Throw F64) and Elie ENOCK (Women’s Shot Put F57). Dubai represents a unique moment for Vanuatu as they make their debut at the World Para Athletics Championships. Javelin thrower Ken Kahu acknowledged he was nervous ahead of his first significant sporting contest.
“I’m looking forward to competing with world champions. I’m proud to represent Vanuatu and the Pacific region as well.”
Vanuatu’s Elie Enock won a surprise silver medal in her debut appearance in the women’s javelin ambulant at Samoa 2019 Pacific Games. Enock took up para-athletics just over three years ago before debuting at the Vanuatu 2017 Pacific Mini Games in Port Vila where she represented Vanuatu in the women’s shot put ambulant.
Papua New Guinea 🇵🇬
Two athletes are set to proudly represent PNG; Steven ABRAHAM (Men’s 100m T47) and Morea MARAROS (Men’s Javelin Throw F34). Only 2 years ago, Steven ABRAHAM was inspired by senior PNG para-athlete Francis Kompaon to take part in the sport of Para-athletics. Abraham did not know much about the sport of para-athletics but was told by Kompaon to give it ago. Now, the 19-year-old travels up to the National Sports Institute in Goroka to undergo training and has attended 2019 Samoa Pacific Games, Oceania championships in Townsville and Arafura Games in Darwin. Both Morea and Steven look forward to proudly representing PNG at the 2019 World Championships, with an ultimate goal of qualifying for the 2020 Paralympic Games.
Para Athletes, Iosefo RAKESA (Men’s Shot Put & Javelin F41) and Inosi Matea BULIMAIREWA (Men’s Javelin Throw F64) have created history for Fiji as the first two athletes to qualify on merit for the World Para Games and the 2020 Paralympics. “We are on the right trend, in fact, our goal is to qualify as many (athletes) as we can on merit; those that achieved the qualifying standards set out by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC),” Fiji Paralympics coach Albert Miller said. Rakesa won the Bronze medal at the 2019 Pacific Games in Samoa with a qualifier, and Matea qualified in the men’s javelin event with a throw of 49.55 metres where he won a silver medal at the Oceania Championships in Australia.
Australia has a relatively young team, with the average age being 27 and five teenagers being among the 35 athletes. There are eight on debut. Head coach, Jon Turnbull firmly believe some Australians are on the cusp of outstanding individual achievements – aiming for another top-five finish. There are six who will attempt to defend their world titles from London 2017 (Cam Crombie F38 Shot, Deon Kenzie T38 1500m, Evan O’Hanlon T38 100m, Jayden Sawyer F38 Javelin Throw, James Turner T36 400m and Madi de Rozario T54 5000m). There is also significant Paralympic Games experience, 24 athletes have made 40 Paralympic Games appearances. 14 athletes have won 36 medals, including five athletes have been Paralympic champions, winning nine titles.
New Zealand 🇳🇿
The New Zealand Team of 15 features Paralympians Holly Robinson, Will Stedman, Anna Grimaldi, Jacob Phillips and Jess Gillan (nee Hamill), along with emerging talent such as Lisa Adams and Mitch Joynt. Leading the line-up is Paralympic and Commonwealth Games F46 javelin silver medallist Holly Robinson. Robinson, the current F46 javelin world record holder after throwing a massive 45.73m in April, will be attending her third World Para Athletics Championships. 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), the experienced F34 shot put ace, currently ranked third in the world, has snagged silver and bronze at the past two Championships. Lisa Adams, the current F37 shot put world number one and record holder, will compete in both the shot put and discus. Adams looks to make the most of her World Para Athletics Championships debut.
How to Watch 📺
The Live Stream of the event will be available to view on our Athletics New Zealand Facebook or the World Para Athletics Facebook.
Daily highlights will be shown on Duke at midday and midnight NZT, and also available on TVNZ on demand
NZ Team Schedule and time conversion available here
The event is being broadcast live and free on 7Plus, with a daily highlights show on 7Two at 2:00pm AEDT.
All other nations: All sessions available via the Dubai 2019 official website and the World Para Athletics Facebook and Twitter pages.