CATEGORY F43 Para Pan-American discus champion Akeem Stewart launched to bronze in the men’s discus throw at the 2015 International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Athletics World Championships which got underway in Doha, Qatar, yesterday.
Against 11 other competitors from across the globe, Stewart advanced to the four-man final and hauled the implement a distance of 59.13 metres to capture the bronze medal in fine style.
Stewart however, was favoured to win gold this time around, having previously thrown a topped the field at the Parapan Am Games in August (Toronto, Canada) with a meet record distance of 63.03m. Winning gold on day one of the world tourney yesterday was American Jeremy Campbell (61.21) while his compatriot David Blair held on to silver (60.46m).
While Stewart’s opponents were categorized as F44 (meaning their impairment is less than his) he faced an uphill battle throughout the rounds. After the second round, it was up to Stewart, Blair and Campbell to battle for supremacy.
All three did a foul in their first two throws while Dan Greaves from the UK, another favourite, had two fouls in his first two attempts, but joined the top three at his third attempt.
After the first three attempts, the last four were eliminated, with the top eight progressing.
It was already clear though, that the battle for precious metal would have been shared between USA and TT . Stewart’s credible performance in Doha yesterday puts him in keen contention for a podium place at the next year’s Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
He has already positioned himself well in the top of the competition, even though competing in the F44 class.
Nyoshia Cain will face the starter in Heat Two of the 200m (T44) from 1.06 pm today (TT time). She is still due to qualify for Rio 2016 and will not hesitate to use this opportunity to do so. For that, she will have to do a minimum time of 30.5 seconds in her heat or the final, if she advances.