MIRAMAR, Fla.— Scott Danberg (Cooper City, Fla.) has been a fixture on the Paralympic field scene for more than 20 years. Danberg, 47, has competed in four Paralympic Games and on Saturday Danberg proved he'll be a threat to top the podium in London by breaking the world record in the men's discus (F40) with a throw of 32.26m.
"My training has been really consistent and all I needed to do was relax," said Danberg. "I've got to be disciplined about channeling my energy. The last cue I got from my coach was 'relax & throw,' which put me in the right state of mind and my body just took over."
Also on the field, U.S. Army veteran Jeanette Thompson (Augusta, Ga.) continued her record-breaking weekend by toppling the American records in both the shot put and discus (F58), to go along with the javelin record she broke on Friday. Thompson set the mark in shot put with a heave of 7.98m and bettered the discus record with a throw of 22.20m.
At the age of 21, wheelchair racing phenom Tatyana McFadden (Clarksville, Md.) already has a collection of six Paralympic medals. But, she's yet to win the ultimate prize – a gold medal. If her performance in Miramar is any indication, McFadden is on track to sit atop the podium at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London on multiple occasions.
McFadden has destroyed the competition in the women's T54 events, including international rivals Shelley Woods from Great Britain and Canada's Diane Roy. McFadden handily won both the 100m and 200m events Saturday, to add to her 800m title from Friday. She looks to make a clean sweep of all five of her events as she races the 400m and 1500m on Sunday.
McFadden's University of Illinois teammate, Anjali Forber-Pratt (Natick, Mass.), also had a couple standout performances on Saturday by breaking the American record and winning gold in the women's 200m (T53) with a time of 29.48 and pushing a personal best of 16.96 in the 100m to claim silver. Jessica Galli (Savoy, Ill.) took gold in that event with a time of 16.90.
"I definitely came here to have a fast meet," said Forber-Pratt. "I have my eye on that 200m world record and I'm inching closer. But, to leave here with a personal best and an American record is awesome."
Defending 100m Paralympic champion Josiah Jamison (Vance, S.C.) continues to lead the field in the T12 (visually impaired) category. Jamison, who is running with a new guide, cruised to victory in both the 100m (11.14) and 200m (22.93) races.
"I think things went pretty well," said Jamison, who is a member of the Olympic and Paralympic Track & Field Resident Program at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif. "My goals were to be top three and hit the time standards I need to make the world championships team. I've done that, so I'm satisfied with my performances."
The men's and women's amputee category (T42/43/44) 100m and 200m events are always a crowd favorite and Saturday's races didn't disappoint.
In the men's T43/44 100m, Jerome Singleton (Irmo, S.C.) was the top American in a time of 11.56 but took second to Brazil's Cardoso de Fonteles who won the race in 11.26. Blake Leeper (Church Hill, Tenn.) rounded out the top three by running a personal best time of 11.62.
The men's T42 100m race was won by U.S. Army veteran Kortney Clemons (Little Rock, Miss.) in a time of 14.64; second place went to Joshua Melendez (Wesley Chapel, Fla.) with a time of 14.98; and in third was U.S. Marine Corps veteran Lee Randles (Holland, Ohio) with a time of 15.20.
On the women's side, April Holmes (Chula Vista, Calif.) is the defending Paralympic gold medalist in the 100m (T44) and she took the top spot in her signature event with a time of 13.91.
In the 200m races, Singleton and Clemons maintained their positions with Singleton turning in the top U.S. performance with a time of 23.44 in the T44 race while Clemons won the T42 event in a time of 30.51.
The night wrapped up with the long jump competition, which featured 10 athletes competing in a variety of combined classification groups. Top U.S. performances came from Markeith Price (Baltimore, Md.) in the visually impaired (F13) category with a jump of 6.15m and Casey Tibbs (Evans, Ga.) in the amputee (F44) category with a jump of 6.03m.
Tibbs, a bronze medalist in the long jump at the Beijing Games in 2008, admits he has struggled to find adequate time to train with obligations to his family and his work as an active duty officer in the U.S. Navy taking top priority.
"My training time has been extremely limited, so I'm really pleased with what I was able to do tonight. This is my first competition in 2010 and I'm very happy to know I have a good foundation off which I can build."
The 2010 U.S. Paralympics Track & Field Championships conclude on Sunday, June 20, with the 400m, 1500m and relay races. A detailed schedule and complete event information, can be found at http://www.usparalympics.org/2010trackandfieldnationalchampionships.