Hannah McFadden (R) and Hannah Dederick (L) advanced to the finals on the opening night of the World Para Athletics Championships in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - U.S. athletes set the tone for the 2019 World Para Athletics Championships, as six athletes advanced through the opening round of competition on the first day of action at the Dubai Club for People of Determination.
Personal-best success:In the first world championships of her career, Hannah Dederick (Liberty Lake, Washington) set a personal-best time in the 100-meter T54 with a time of 16.76 to advance to the finals.
Best of the season: Three athletes sailed through the opening rounds as they recorded season-best times. Erik Hightower (Glendale, Arizona) raced the 100 T54 in 14.27, Cheri Madsen (Nebraska City, Nebraska) finished the 100 T54 in 16.46 and Brian Siemann (Brooklyn, New York) advanced to the finals in the 100 T53 in 15.24.
Around the world- With more than 1,400 athletes from almost 120 nations expected to compete, the event will be the last major opportunity for athletes to gain slots for their National Paralympic Committees for the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.
Looking back- At the last edition of the world championships in 2017, U.S. athletes won a historic 59 medals (20 golds, 19 silvers, 20 bronzes) to lead Team USA to its most successful world championship performance to date.
Full results can be found on the World Para Athletics Championships website.
“For heat one, it was a little nerve-wracking because there was a red card, and heat two definitely pulled through. I’m just coming off of medical surgery on my neck, so I’ve only been training for two months. This is my first competition back, so I just want to hit a really good time in the 100-meter. I’m glad to say all three U.S. ladies are in the final. It’s nice racing against teammates - it shows USA is always dominant, especially in the T54, and that we’re always stacked and ready to go.”
“It feels really good to qualify. It’s good to get that first race out of your system and go on the track. I still get nervous - I think it’s always good to have a healthy amount of nerves before every race. I’m excited about the finals tomorrow. There are some good guys racing and it should be a fast one.”
Competition continues tomorrow with 17 athletes representing Team USA. All six athletes who advanced today to finals will compete for the podium Friday evening. Michael Wishnia (Chapin, South Carolina) automatically advanced to finals based on his current world ranking and will compete in the shot put F57.
How to Watch
Team USA fans can catch all the action of the World Para Athletics Championships on the Olympic Channel. Every evening session will be aired on Olympic Channel, while fans can stream morning sessions at OlympicChannel.com. The full schedule can be found on OlympicChannel.com.
For updates throughout the event, follow U.S. Paralympics Track & Field on Facebook and Instagram.