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2016 IPC Asia Oceania Athletics Championship: T12 Preview

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T12 is one of the visually impaired classes that will be competing at the upcoming 2016 IPC Asia Oceania Athletics Championship that officially get underway on Sunday. The 100, 200, 400 meters are being competed for by the men, with the 800, 1500 and 5000 meters being grouped with as a T12/13 event. T12 women have the same program, except there is no 800 and no 5000 meter event. Most of the world has not seen their athletics season start, which means that looking at results year to date can provide only limited insights. Australia and New Zealand have been the major regional countries hosting national athletic events, some of which have attracted Asian competitors from places like Singapore and Japan.

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Vision impaired athletics are not a big thing in Australia. Kyle Potgieter is Australia’s only active competitor so far this year, and he was not ranked last year. With the times he has put up in the 100 meters, Australia probably did not take him to Dubai. Japan’s Shunya Yamaji finished as the top ranked regional competitor in this event in 2015. His time of 0:11.35 was well off Cuban Leinier Savon Pineda’s season best time of 0:10.77. China’s Qichao Sun could be highly competitive with Yamaji after finishing 2015 with a best time of 0:11.39. Depending on who else shows up, China, Japan, Thailand and Iran have runners that could give their countries a medal here.

On the women’s side, China’s Guohua  Zhou will be the favorite if she’s there after finishing the year ranked fourth and first in Asia/Oceania with a time of 0:12.10.  The next couple of women from the region ranked in this event are all Chinese.  If China brings the three they are allowed, they could get a medal sweep here.  Papua New Guinea’s Joyleen Jeffrey and Chinese Taipei’s Ya-Ting Liu could have chances if they show up and China does not bring their best.

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Like the 100 meters, there is not much activity in this class year to date.  To get an idea as to how this class may play out, 2015 needs to be looked at. On the women’s side, China’s Guohua Zhou put up the best time last year in the region with a time of 0:24.85.  If China brings women to compete in all three spots, the rankings suggest they could sweep here as PNG’s Jeffrey was the only other runner from the region to rank at the end of last year.

 

Japan’s Shunya  Yamaji is the likely favorite on the men’s side, but his performance is not likely to overly impress as he finished the year ranked sixteenth on a time of 0:23.28.  Thailand’s Somdech Chaiya could have a chance at beating as he posted a season best time of 0:23.88 last year.  If both countries bring more than one competitor in this event, each has a good chance of securing that last available medal.  The bronze medal race should not be close as both are outside Yamaji and Chaiya’s best times.

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While Potgieter posted a time in the 400 meter event this year, it would have put him forty-third in last year’s rankings, and only ahead of Angola’s Rode Fernando who had a season best time of 1:10.67. China’s Sun has the best chance to medal here with a season best time last year of 0:49.99 , while Iran’s Seyedhabib Hosseiniliravi could be in the mix with a season best time of 0:50.46. Iran, Japan and Australia all had ranked competitors in this event last year, so they could be in it to claim a bronze medal.

The women’s side of the 400 meters looks like another potential for a Chinese medal sweep, led by Yaqin Shen. Thailand’s Supannee
Prawat has the best chance to prevent that. She posted a time of 1:05.61 to Shen’s 2015 best of 0:59.35, so Prawat would probably be best looking at a bronze. None of the regional competitors at this event looked primed to win Paralympic medalists as Cuban, Ukranian and Russian women posted substantially faster times last year.

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Like the previous events, the 800 meter has seen little activity in T12 and T13 classes so far in 2016. Australia’s T12 Kyle Potgieter posted a time of 02:40.53, which is 12 seconds slower than the last ranked time in his class in 2015 posted by Saudi Arabia’s Ali Hakami. The T13 class here has a lot more depth, finishing 2015 with 30 ranked sprinters to T12’s 16. Australia’s Sam Harding is the only T13 competitor with a posted time in this class this year with a time of 2:04.65. That’s a marginal improvement on his season’s best time last year of 2:04.78. If he is in Dubai, the time is likely not good enough to earn him a medal. Iran’s Alireza Farah had a best time last year in the T13 with a time of 1:54.31. The best T12 regional time last year came from Australia’s Jaryd Clifford, who posted a time of 2:03.16. T13 Japan’s Hiro Anzai had a best time of 1:59.44. T13 runners will probably win this one, just because of depth. Depending on who shows on the men’s side, the results may be a bit slow and predictable. Still, Australia, Japan, Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia all could potentially pick up a medal.

The lack of international depth on the women’s side explain why this event was left off. There is not a single woman ranked here in either the T12 or T13 class from Oceania or Asia.

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Australia’s James Hamilton is one of the only T12/T13 male runners to put up a time this year. Last year, Japan’s Tadashi Horikoshi put up the best time in the T12 class in the 1500 meters. He had a time of 4:04.62. The next top ranked regional competitor in the T12 class was China’s Dewu Zheng. Iran’s Alireza Farah had the best time on the T13 side at 4:07.58. India’s Ramkaran Singh had the second best regional time and the country is sending a small delegation to this event. His best time of 4:17.04 likely leaves him on the outside though, with T12 competitors likely to claim bronze ahead of him. Australia’s T12 Clifford had a season best time last year of 4:14.79. Japan and Iran are likely to be the most competitive here. Australia could be in it too if they send runners.

The women’s side is likely to be dominated by Japan. The country had four ranked T12 competitors in the event at the end of last year. China’s T13 Fei Teng is the only other woman ranked in this event. Her time was faster than all the Japanese runners in T12, so she could win it if she competes.

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The 5,000 meter event is another one with few to no times put up so far this year to gauge who goes in as potential favorites based on current form. Last year’s times are the best indicator. Japan’s Tadashi Horikoshi is the likely favorite from the T12 class, posting a season best time of 15:14.74. While the third best on the year, Morroco’s El Amin Chentouf had an impressive time of 14:53.44 to lead the class. Canada’s T13 Guillaume Ouellet was the only T12/T13 competitor to break the 15 minute barrier. He had a season best time of 14:36.35. India’s Ramkaran Singh had the best time in the T13 class from the Asia and Oceania region at 15:58.87. This should be Japan’s event to win. If Australia’s Clifford is competing, he could give the country a silver medal here. India’s been plagued with problems but if Ramkaran Singh shows, he could net his country a bronze medal.
Overall, Oceania and Asia do not look like that competitive in this class. There are few competitors, and their times tend to be a lot slower than their Americas, European and African counterparts. This class is not going to be the most interesting one to watch in Dubai.

Laura Hale
About Laura Hale (2533 Articles)
<p>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.</p>

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