Rain helps Grimaldi to bronze

Anna Grimaldi has used experience gained in the Dunedin rain to reach the world podium in Japan.

The Paralympian won back-to-back bronze medals in the women’s T47 100m at the Para Athletics World Championships in wet conditions in Kobe on Sunday night (NZ time).

The 27-year-old — who won her first bronze in the sprint at last year’s world championships — finished behind Kiara Rodriquez, of Ecuador, who successfully defended her title in 12.27sec and runner-up Saska Sokolov, of Serbia, who was 0.07sec ahead of Grimaldi.

“I’m so stoked," Grimaldi said.

“My immediate thought is I know I can run faster, which is exciting for the Paralympic Games. I’m content with where I am at now, but excited by where I can get to.”

Inside the Kobe Universiade Memorial Stadium, Grimaldi was drawn in lane five, and after making a solid start, was always prominent in the battle for the podium positions.

While Rodriguez established an early advantage, Grimaldi quickly emerged in a titanic tussle with Sokolov for the silver medal.

Rodriguez could not be stopped in her quest for gold, while Sokolov held on for silver.

Racing in the wet was "kind of homey" for Grimaldi, who is accustomed to those conditions at the Caledonian.

“The conditions out there were like back home in Dunedin. We do a lot of sprinting in the rain, and on a wet track, it probably was an advantage to me."

Grimaldi said she was nervous heading into the final, and felt a little more pressure after her bronze medal at last year’s event in Paris.

Anna Grimaldi celebrates after winning bronze at the World Para Athletics Championships in Kobe....
Anna Grimaldi celebrates after winning bronze at the World Para Athletics Championships in Kobe. PHOTO: AUGUSTO BIZZI
But she was happy to snag bronze and had plenty to take away in the buildup to the Paralympics later this year.

"I feel like there’s still quite a few things I would like to work on.

"I’ve spoken to my coach after the heat and we spoke about a few things that we’re going to get stuck into before I head away to Europe for my pre-Games campaign.

"I feel like I’m still sort of at the start of my sprinting journey ... but I think overall I’m just happy to be here."

Grimaldi’s focus now turns to her specialist event in the long jump on Friday afternoon (NZ time).

About half of her competitors from the 100m final will also be in the long jump, making for an exciting event, she said.

"I’m just excited to get out there and see where we’re at and where I can learn as much as I can to take home to then work on before the Games."

Earlier, Will Stedman was crowned world champion in the men’s T36 400m.

Stedman, 24, claimed the top spot for the first time in his career and set a national record of 53.36sec

World record holder and Paralympic champion James Turner, of Australia, settled for silver, finishing 0.16sec behind Stedman, and Fakhr Eddine Thelaidjia, of Algeria, claimed bronze in 54.53sec.

Danielle Aitchison is the only Kiwi to compete today, racing in the women’s T36 100m final at 10.22pm.

Dunedin thrower Holly Robinson is in action in the F46 shot put tomorrow night.