This article is part of a ParaSport News series of articles looking at athletics world records and world records progression. This was originally published on Quora as Laura Hale’s answer to What’s the progression in world record throws for Paralympic women in the shot put?.
This is a really difficult question mostly because of an absence of easily available records. I’ve been looking for these records and trying to find as many historical ones as I can, and for a number of classes, I can find maybe one record. I’ve only been able to find multiple world records for the following classes: F12, F34, F35, F36, F37, F42, and F44. When I plot these on a graph, it looks like this:
For F44 and F42, both classes for amputees, the progression based on tendencies from the few available data points suggests improved distances are a lot slower in coming, with the slope being much flatter. These classes are amputee classes, with a few Les Autres competitors and a few ambulant spinal cord injuries athletes also eligible. To the extent that these lines appear to parallel each other and don’t intersect, it suggests the classification is pretty good.
Progression is weirder for the cerebral palsy classes, with F35 and F36 doing strange things. The same could also be said a bit for F37. In any case, the records are getting better.
Speaking in practical terms, the F12 class for vision impaired women improved by 0.08 meters from October 2015 to June 2016. It isn’t huge but same athlete if I recall correctly and beating a PB is always nice. F34 improved from 9.3 meters in January 2011 to 10.06 meters in June 2012. A little under a meter in 18 months seems like a pretty big leap but there was always the London Games preparation impact. F35 went from 10.61 in January 2011 to 11.34 in June 2012 to 13.04 in October 2015. There seems like there has to be a missing record here, but in any case, F35 looks like the class really figured out how to improve heir performance. F36 also saw a rather big leap of around 2 meters, though the separation of the 9.66 throw in January 2011 and 11.52 meters in July 2016 could explain it. F37 in comparison improved much more slowly, going from 13.56 meters in October 2015 to 13.82 meters in May 2016. F42 looks like it stalled out with improvement, with 965 set in May 2006 and the next record coming in September 2008 with a throw of 10.06. I’m guessing lack of depth in this class is a huge contributing factor here in lack of progression. F44 in contrast has much more depth, but didn’t have a huge leap compared to other classes. It went from 12.18 meters in August 2005 to 13.14 meters in October 2015. 10 years difference and improvement was only 1 meter. Other classes did better.