News & Updates

13 July 2023 • Para Athletics

Aitchison and Stedman add silver medals to New Zealand haul

Danielle Aitchison adds another global medal to her growing collection with silver in the women's 100m T36 in Paris. Credit: (Peter Milsom)

New Zealand maintained its outstanding performance at the Paris 2023 Para Athletics World Championships as Danielle Aitchison in the women’s 100m T36 and Will Stedman in the men’s long jump T36 claimed a pair of silver medals on a memorable day four evening session inside the Stade Charlety.

Aitchison, who had equalled the championship record with a thunderous 13.68 clocking in the heats, could not quite match that in the final but still recorded one of the fastest times of her career in the medal race, registering 13.84 to upgrade on the 100m bronze she claimed at the Tokyo Paralympics.

Gold was secured by the defending champion Yiteng Shi of China who improved by the best part of a second on her heat performance to win in a championship record mark of 13.66. Nicole Nicoleitzik of Germany claimed bronze in 14.82.

Experiencing a lengthy delay at the start due to a technical issue, the eight finalists – with Aitchison drawn in lane four and Shi in lane six – faced a nerve-wracking wait.

Once the race finally got underway it was Shi who made the more rapid start out of the blocks and the diminutive Chinese athlete – with her familiar pitter-patter stride – opened a clear advantage on the 21-year-old Kiwi who quickly established a grip on second spot.

For the remainder of the 100m dash the gap between the pair remained consistently around two metres and despite the brave efforts by the Kiwi, Shi would not be denied a hat-trick of world 100m T36 titles with a classy performance – within 0.05 of her world record set at the Tokyo Paralympics.

Aitchison said: “I have mixed feelings with my race. I am happy with the result but at the same time I feel a bit disappointed with my result. There are some improvements to be made but overall I am happy I was able to perform well and achieve a great time and a silver medal.

“I am feeling confident going into the 200m as I know what I need to work on and I’m trusting the process of all the training I have done. I am just looking forward to going out and being curious about what I can do on the track.”

Will Stedman pocketed a second silver medal in Paris 2023 following his second-place finish in the men’s 400m T36 with a stellar display in the men’s long jump. An Oceania record leap of 5.71m (+0.5) in round two secured the Cantabrian another podium finish as he matched the same colour medal he won in this event at the Tokyo Paralympics.

Gold went to Izzat Turgunov of Uzbekistan courtesy of his championship record equalling second round leap of 5.75m. In an incredible tight competition – in which less than 20cm separated the top six – Oleksandr Lytvyenko of Ukraine matched his bronze medal performance from the last edition of these championships with a best of 5.68m.

Stedman buoyed by his silver medal in the men’s 400m T36 on Tuesday opened with a solid 5.42m to sit fourth after round one before soaring out to his area record effort in the second stanza.

The 23-year-old Christchurch-based athlete broke the sand at 5.08m in round three and despite delivering a consistent second half of the competition with 5.52m, 5.61m and 5.50m jumps he could not quite dislodge Turgunov on the top of the podium.

An ecstatic Stedman said: “Double silver feels really good. I wasn’t sure how today would go competing in my third event in three days (following the heats and final of the 400m). My long jump preparation has been up and down for the past six weeks but today was my furthest jump in a few years. I’m stoked with how it has gone. My second jump was good, it felt good, and it was nice to do it earlier in the competition than later (referring to his last round jump of 5.64m which took him into silver at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics).

“I’m really happy overall with how I’ve gone in Paris, the 400m and long jump went really well, so I’m very pleased with my performances, my whole team behind me and George Edwards, my coach, who got me in shape.”

***Note, although Stedman set an Oceania record of 5.71m here in Paris his PB and New Zealand record stands at 5.73m set in Christchurch in 2021. This is because area records can only be posted at fully sanctioned World Para Athletics meets.

***Aitchison is the next Kiwi in action at the Paris 2023 Para Athletics World Championships when she takes to the start line for the women’s 200m T36 heats at 8.10pm on Friday.

***Follow all the action on TVNZ+. Note, the coverage will be taken from the world feed so we cannot guarantee that all events featuring Kiwi athletes will be shown.

***For results go here