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Para paradise as Paris hopefuls flock to Chemist Warehouse Canberra Track Classic

CANBERRA: The nation’s Paris Paralympic hopefuls are poised to ignite the 2024 Chemist Warehouse Canberra Track Classic in just one week’s time, as Paralympic champion James Turner leads a host of world-class talent at the familiar stomping ground of the Australian Institute of Sport.

Paralympic star Turner (T36) will ramp up his quest for double gold in Paris when loading into the blocks on his home track, with the world record holder at 11.72-seconds ready to fire on all cylinders in the Men’s Ambulant 100m.

A versatile talent who has already clinched Paralympic gold over 400m and 800m, along with an unbeaten run of seven gold medals at the World Para Athletics Championships, the Paralympic year for Turner means it’s time to bring the heat.

“I’m looking forward to really putting on a good race for the home crowd, Canberra has the fastest track!” Tuner said.

“There’s a top-quality field competing in Canberra this year, and it’s always good to have a run with them. I’m looking to execute a clinical race, but of course running fast wouldn’t hurt either.”

Australia’s fastest Paralympian Chad Perris (T13) will be ready to roar on his home track when coiling himself into the blocks with 10.65-second credentials, having already neared career-best form in 2024.

The man affectionately known as The White Tiger will take on Turner and a field of quality talent, competing under the BASELINE system – a format used to create fair competition from multiple impairment categories.

Knocking off the Paralympic A qualifying standard with a run of 10.69 (+1.0) in January, the Paralympic bronze medallist will look to test the clock in a bid to draw closer to Turner on the BASELINE system, with Turner’s score of 97.16 at the Maurie Plant Meet – Melbourne making light work of the field.

The sprinting action will roll on in the wheelchair ranks as Paralympic stars Rheed McCracken (T34) and Angela Ballard (T53) spearhead the cohort’s return to the scene of January’s Chemist Warehouse Australian Wheelchair Racing Championships.

On that occasion, McCracken raced to his first Paralympic A qualifier of 15.38 (+1.4) over 100m as the 27-year-old builds back towards the form that earned him medals at the last three consecutive Paralympic Games – last claiming silver in the 100m T34 in Tokyo.

The heavy hitters of the para middle-distance ranks will test themselves in the able-bodied ranks as Michael Roeger (T46) spearheads the charge on familiar ground, with the Australian Institute of Sport as the backdrop where he has honed his craft since 2009.

“It’s always nice to race in Canberra, it’s where we train and it’s where our performance staff are, so to be able to get a good crack here is always special,” Roeger said.

“There is a good crop of distance para guys at the moment, so it’s an exciting time leading into Paris. I will run well in Canberra – another A qualifier, close to my world record. My race is in August and that’s our focus this year, everything we do now is for then.”

World Para Athletics Championships silver and bronze medallists, Reece Langdon (T38) and Angus Hincksman (T38) will take on the Men’s 1500m, with Langdon out to bounce back from an unfortunate fall at the Chemist Warehouse Adelaide Invitational.

The Australian record holder rallied on that occasion to clock 3:55.58, closely followed by Hincksman in 3:57.30 as the duo clocked yet another pair of Paralympic A qualifying performances.

Jackson Hamilton (F13) will lead the action in the field after piling almost six metres onto his personal best and the Paralympic A qualifying standard this month, with the 20-year-old packing his 68.23m personal best on his trip to Canberra for the Men’s Javelin, alongside 2019 world champion Corey Anderson (F38).

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