Revitalised Grimaldi enjoying record-breaking form

Paralympic long jumper Anna Grimaldi trains at the Caledonian Ground in Dunedin yesterday. PHOTO:...
Paralympic long jumper Anna Grimaldi trains at the Caledonian Ground in Dunedin yesterday. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
Perhaps the Paralympics postponement was not such a bad thing for Anna Grimaldi.

This time two weeks ago it had been four years since she set her personal best in T47 long jump of 5.62m — winning gold in Rio in the process.

After a fractured foot and a long rehabilitation, she is finally back to her best.

Grimaldi (23), who was born without a left hand, has exceeded that mark from Rio five times in the past two weeks.

The farthest of those jumps came at last Thursday’s twilight meeting at the Caledonian Ground in Dunedin.

She set a New Zealand para-record of 5.72m.

It was a jump that would have won last year’s world championships by 20cm.

It also leaves her ranked fifth in New Zealand among all females — including able-bodied jumpers.

"It wasn’t a shock, I guess," she said.

"Training had been going really, really well leading into it.

"But I was happy to get some legal jumps in and to be over my PB. I did that PB in Rio.

"So I guess that’s a long PB dry spell.

"So pretty happy that the first two competitions. Both produced a PB — I’m pretty stoked."

It left her in a good place for the rescheduled Paralympics, now set to be held in Tokyo next year due to Covid-19.

This time last year there had been much uncertainty around both her ability and her foot.

While she went away and won silver at the world championships, the past two weeks signify big progress.

Grimaldi now has full confidence in her foot and is performing better than she had before the injury.

Knowing what she was capable of again lightened the weight of being the defending Paralympic champion.

While she had been gutted the Paralympics had been postponed, she was looking at the benefits of the situation.

It had allowed her to have a full winter at home and change the way she trained slightly.

The benefits of that were showing through now.

"It’s gutting because I think I would’ve been in a really good position physically. We would’ve been in good form.

"But to come out here now and to back up our feelings towards how we would have gone in Tokyo, it’s nice to know we were on track to do good things there.

"But we’ve got an extra year now. We’re on track to do even better things now.

"I missed more than a year of training. To get back one year, it’s going to make a huge difference."

Off the track she was keeping busy studying a diploma in construction management, to complement the quantity surveying degree she graduated with.

She has a busy summer planned, competing both in Dunedin and heading to some meetings further north in the new year.


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