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2016 IPC Asia Oceania Athletics Championship: T11 Preview

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The T11 classification is for runners who are completely blind. At the 2016 IPC Asia Oceania Athletics Championship, which get underway on March 6, the 100, 200, 400, 1500 meters are all on the program for men and women while the 5000 meter event is only for men.
So far in 2016, it does not appear that there has been much active competition in this event for T11 competitors. Where they have apparently been much more active is in the marathon, and it is possible that Japan’s T11 runners just are not getting domestic times to the IPC in shorter distances in their own country.

Last year’s men’s rankings in the 100 meter event had 65 ranked competitors, with China’s Dongdong di being the top ranked Asian competitor. He had a season best of 0:11.23. His nearest competitor was Indonesia’s Abdul Halim Dalimunte who had a season’s best of 0:11.66. Despite the lack of times this year, this event will almost certainly be competitive with anyone capable of taking home a win.

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The field for women in the T11 100 meters is much less deep based on the year end rankings, which included only 37 women. China and Brazil are the dominant countries in this class, and if China brings the right women, they could manage a podium sweep. Thailand, Chinese Taipei and Japan are the only other countries with ranked competitors from the region who might challenge the Chinese women.

Last year, there were 49 men who ranked in this event. The best competitor from the zone was Japan’s Shunya Yamaji, who finished the season 18th with a time of 0:23.28. This was a second slower than top ranked Cuban Leinier Savon Pineda, who posted a time of 0:22.14 at the World Championships. There is a lack of Oceania and Asian competitors in the ratings, but it is possible that some countries who missed the World Championships because of money issues could appear here to make things more competitive.

With 2015 ending with 29 women ranked in this class, China’s Cuiqing Liu was at the top with a season best time of 0:24.75 set at the world championships. China lacks the depth in this event that it has in the 100. If Thailand’s Kewalin Wannaruemon is there, she could easily capture silver. Improving 2 seconds from her season best last year seems like a stretch to get gold unless Liu is absent. The lack of Asian and Oceania depth here should make this a relatively boring race. Oceania just does not have large numbers of vision impaired athletes

2015 finished with 44 men ranked in the 200 meter event. China’s Dongdong di was the best Asian competitor in that group, ranked fifth with a time of 0:52.24. It was a second and a half slower than top ranked Brazilian Felipe Gomes. Depending on who attends, China should end up with one to two medals here, with Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia fighting for the last medal.

This event has less depth than the 200 meters on the women’s side, with last season ending with 21 ranked women. Cuiqing Liu is arguably the best sprinter in the women’s T11 class and she tops this one. China lacks depth at this distance, with Yan Chen the only other ranked racer. Her best time of 1:02.89 to Liu’s 0:56.68 highlights the lack of competition in this class. Thailand’s Kewalin Wannaruemon may be the second best overall sprinter from Asia, and if she shows, she could pick up another medal. Outside medals are possible for Vietnam and Japan, but that’s if they send racers and their times would likely to be really slow.

35 men finished 2015 ranked in the 400 meter event. Japan’s Shinya Wada was the top Asian or Oceania competitor in the class, ranked eighth with a time of 4:20.85, 12 seconds off top ranked Brazilian Odair Santos’s time. This is one of those races where no world records will likely be broken, and the race is likely to be slower than the winning pace in Rio.

The 1,500 has a little more depth than the 800 meters, with one woman more being ranked at the end of 2015 in the 1,500 meters than the 800 meters. China’s Jin Zheng should walk away with a first place if she is there. Her season best was 4:47.71. The next best Asia/Oceania competitor is Japan’s Yumiko Konno who posted a time of 5:54.54. The third best time in the region last year came from Japan’s Naomi Abe, who ran 6:27.84 at an event in Tokyo. She was ranked thirteenth and last in the class. This race is not likely to be that competitive.

The 5,000 meter event finished 2015 with 20 men ranked in it. Only six were Asian or Oceania competitors. This is a race where the top ranked Asian competitor is 50 seconds slower than the top ranked racer in the class. If Japan has a big delegation, they could sweep this event in what should be a relatively slow pace.

The men’s races are likely to be competitive, but with noticeably slower times than you’ll expect from potential Paralympic medalists. The women’s side, outside the 100 meters, are likely to not be competitive at all. Expect some potentially lopsided wins.

Laura Hale
About Laura Hale (2532 Articles)
Laura Hale is a sport journalist, specializing in Paralympic and disability sport news. Prior to helping found ParaSport-News, she spent two and a half years working as a journalist on Wikinews, a citizen journalism site. As a journalist, she has covered the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London, the 2013 IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships in La Molina, the 2014 Winter Paralympics in Sochi, and a number of other sporting events. She has additional experience with Paralympic sport having worked as a Wikipedian in Residence for the Australian and Spanish Paralympic Committees.

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