World championships silver for Grimaldi

Anna Grimaldi has produced another "pinch me" moment on the world stage.

The Dunedin Paralympian won silver in the women’s T47 long jump with her leap of 5.84m at the Para Athletics World Championships in Kobe, Japan, yesterday.

It was a season’s best performance for the 27-year-old and added to the bronze she won in the 100m at the world championships earlier in the week — the same double she won at the world championships in Paris last year.

"I never thought winning two medals would ever be a possibility for me and my career", Grimaldi said.

"To have done it both here in Kobe, and in Paris, is kind of a pinch me moment to know I can be in the medals in the 100m and the long jump."

The silver marks Grimaldi’s fourth world championship medal. She won silver last year, and in 2019, and won bronze in 2015, to go alongside her two Paralympic golds.

Kiara Rodriguez, of Ecuador, who set the world record of 6.23m at last year’s event, defended her title with a season’s best jump of 6.17m. Rodriguez also won gold in the 100m.

Petra Luteran, of Hungary, leapt to a personal best of 5.66m to clinch bronze.

Always in contention for a medal, Grimaldi, jumped a season best 5.72m in her first attempt and continued to push her season best out from there.

Her second jump was scratched, but she managed 5.79m with her third and then produced 5.65m.

She secured silver with her fifth attempt of 5.84m and finished with a jump of 5.76m.

Having only competed in two competitions since July last year, and going through a rocky road with injuries since last world championships, Grimaldi was rapt with her promising performance.

"I feel grateful to be jumping.

"For this to be the third comp of the year, to be jumping in the 5.80s, and in the medals, is exciting.

"I have to remind myself that there is still 90 plus days to Paris. To bring home the silver . . . I’m really chuffed."

Anna Grimaldi wins silver in the long jump at the Para Athletics World Championships in Kobe...
Anna Grimaldi wins silver in the long jump at the Para Athletics World Championships in Kobe Japan. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
Before the world championships, Grimaldi told the Otago Daily Times Rodriguez’s world record-breaking jump last year helped advance their sport.

Rodriguez’s performance yesterday — she had five jumps that reached 6m or over — cemented that, she said.

"She is amazing and so good for the sport", Grimaldi said.

"She is pushing the ceiling of what I thought was possible.

"For so long 6m has been a bar, but for her to jump 6.17m and the world record to be 6.23m is amazing for our event."

Grimaldi’s silver brought New Zealand’s medal tally to six at the event.

Her two medals joined Danielle Aitchison’s gold in the women’s T36 200m and silver in the 100m, Will Stedman’s gold in the men’s T36 400m and Dunedin’s Holly Robinson’s silver in the women’s F46 shot put.

Aitchison executed an electrifying piece of sprinting to strike women's 200m T36 gold in a jaw-dropping world record mark of 27.47 to retain her crown in style.

"It is so amazing. I can't believe it.

"I learned a lot from the 100m, I learned to run my own race and be ready to go when the gun goes and that's what I managed to execute in the 200m.

"The aim was [to] focus on myself and I felt I did exactly that.

"It gives me a lot of confidence going into Paris, there are still some things to work on, but I am ahead of where I thought I was. It gives me the confidence that I can do even better at the Paralympics."

The tally could rise with Stedman competing in the T36 long jump today and Mitch Joynt in the men’s 200m T64 tonight to round out the competition.

— additional reporting RNZ