What To Watch At The 2017 World Para Athletics World Championships

By Stafford Braxton | July 13, 2017, 12:59 p.m. (ET)

Paralympian Scout Bassett will represent Team USA at the World Para Athletics Championships in London. 

Team USA’s best athletes are gearing up for the 2017 World Para Athletics Championships in London from July 14-23. The field is set for tough competition as Rio rematches take place and coveted world titles are on the line. The squad will compete against a talented international field at the host site of the Paralympic Games London 2012, the beautiful Olympic Stadium in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. After finishing third in the medal count at the 2015 world championships, Team USA is looking to make a strong run for the top spot in London.

The event brings together the world’s most talented Paralympic athletes from over 80 countries, with Team USA being represented by 50 athletes and three guides. Twenty-two of those U.S. athletes won medals at the Paralympic Games Rio 2016, including Paralympic newcomers Hunter Woodhall (Syracuse, Utah) and Deja Young (Mesquite, Texas) along with Paralympic powerhouses Tatyana McFadden (Clarksville, Maryland) and Lex Gillette (Raleigh, North Carolina).

With the world’s best Paralympians and Paralympic hopefuls together on one track, here are some of the key events to watch for during the nine days of competition:

Rio Redemption
After a disappointing performance in Rio, Jarryd Wallace (Athens, Georgia) has set his sights on redemption at the London 2017 world championships. Wallace is the Team USA favorite to medal in the men’s T44 events and will battle hometown hero and defending double Paralympic champion, Jonnie Peacock in the 100-meter; both of whom missed the last edition of world championships in 2015 due to injury. Wallace had a successful last visit to London, defeating Peacock at the Müller Anniversary Games in 2016. The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Stadium was also the site of Wallace’s first Paralympic Games in 2012. Since Rio, Jarryd has married his longtime girlfriend and started a new life chapter, but his motivation is still the same: to win his first individual world title and break the T44 world record. He will compete in the 100, 200 and 4x100 relay.


Return of Tatyana
McFadden missed the 2015 world championships and is returning to London after a difficult year battling blood clots. Returning to London is familiar for McFadden as it is the site in which she competed at her third Paralympic Games for Team USA. In 2012, she claimed three gold medals, sweeping the women’s T54 400, 800 and 1,500. She added a bronze in the 100 to close out her time in the British capital. This will be her first competition with the U.S. team since Rio and she hopes to reclaim all the world records in the women’s T54 class.


Young Talent
Team USA’s newest generation of talent is ready for the spotlight at London 2017. Several medalists from Rio and Doha will return to compete in London, including two-time Paralympic gold medalist Young, high jump silver medalist Sam Grewe (Middlebury, Indiana) and two-time medalist Woodhall. Seven U.S. athletes will make their world championship debut in front of an electric crowd in London with five of them in their first year of Paralympic sport. One standout is Isaac Jean-Paul (Gurnee, Illinois), who was made aware of Paralympic sport through U.S. teammate Roderick Townsend (Stockton, California), and set a world record in the men’s T13 high jump in his first Paralympic event at the national championships last month to make his first U.S. worlds team.


Distance Trio
Mikey Brannigan (East Northport, New York) will race three middle and distance events in London (T20 800, 1,500 and 5,000), including back-to-back races on the July 22 and 23 in the 800 and 5,000. Brannigan enters the championships as the reigning Paralympic and world champion in the 1,500 and world runner-up in the 5,000.


Men’s F44 Discus
David Blair (Eagle Mountain, Utah) has stormed onto the men’s F44 scene, capturing the world record and Paralympic title in the discus. The only piece of hardware missing from his collection is a world title, which he will battle U.S. teammate Jeremy Campbell (Peyton, Texas) and a strong international field. Blair threw an American-record distance of 65.72m earlier this year and will look to continue his success. Campbell, a three-time Paralympian and two-time gold medalist, will fight to keep his title against an exciting field in London.


Men’s T43 400m
The event is proving to be one of the most exciting races to watch with up-and-coming stars Woodhall, AJ Digby (Bowling Green, Ohio) and Nick Rogers (Bingham, Maine) battling for the coveted world title. Woodhall was world runner-up in Doha and the Rio bronze medalist in this event, but recently, Rogers has been making a name for himself in the T43 class, defeating Woodhall at nationals in Los Angeles. Digby finished just off the podium behind Woodhall in fourth in Rio and fifth at the 2015 world championships, but is looking to make his comeback in the loaded event in London.


With the launch of the "Olympic Channel: Home to Team USA" fans of Team USA can watch 12 hours of World Para Athletics Championships competition starting on Saturday, July 15 and continuing each day until the championships close on Sunday, July 23. Visit TeamUSA.org for air dates and times.

Follow U.S. Paralympics on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for updated information during the event. Full results can be found here.