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Grooms makes history with Team USA’s first frame running World Championships Medal to open competition in Japan

United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee, Press Release

KOBE, JAPAN – Sayers Grooms (Gainesville, Fla.) found redemption and a podium spot in the women’s 100-meter T72 to lead Team USA on the opening day of the 2024 Para Athletics World Championships in Kobe, Japan.

Grooms powered to a third-place finish in the women’s 100-meter T72 to give Team USA its first medal of the meet. Her time of 19.01 was just half a second off second place.

The medal was the first in U.S. history for frame running. Grooms and Michael Anwar became the first frame runners ever to compete at a world championships last year, where Grooms experienced heartbreak when she lost her shoe in the event final, dropping her to eighth.

The 18-year-old said thoughts of last year made the podium especially sweet in Kobe. Because frame running is not on the Paralympic program, medaling at a world championships is currently the highest achievement in the sport.

“This is 10 years in the making,” Grooms said. “I’m just so grateful. It means everything to me [after last year] because I’ve been replaying that race in my head all year. It feels so good to get redemption.”

In his international debut, 20-year-old sprinter Korban Best (Southlake, Texas) missed his first career worlds podium by .05 seconds, placing fourth in the men’s 100-meter T47 competition.

New to the Para track and field scene, Best recently began training full-time at the Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center alongside some of his U.S. teammates. He said he hopes that his experience in Kobe will serve as a learning experience as he looks to qualify for his first Paralympic Games.

“I definitely would’ve liked to have been on that podium, I have a lot to work on,” Best said. “This is definitely a mental battle. I can only do so much physically, and it’s that mental part that I have to work on too.”

In one of Team USA’s strongest events, the trio of Jaydin Blackwell (Oak Park, Mich.), Nick Mayhugh (Manassas, Va.) and Ryan Medrano (Savannah, Ga.) all qualified out of their preliminary heats for the final of the men’s 100-meter T38, which will take place tomorrow night. Blackwell is the 2023 world champion and championship record holder in the event, while the four-time Paralympic medalist Mayhugh and Medrano are seeking their first world titles.

In prelims competition, Blackwell won his heat with a time of 11.08, while Medrano tied a personal best with a time of 11.20 for second in his heat. Mayhugh, who won the bronze in the 100-meter T38 at last year’s world championships, placed fourth in his heat en route to tomorrow’s final.

Rounding out the opening day of the championships for Team USA was Paralympic champion and reigning world champion Noah Malone (Fishers, Ind.), who began his quest for his second career world title in the 100-meter T12 by winning his heat to advance to tomorrow night’s semifinals.

Competition resumes tomorrow at 9 a.m. local time at the Universiade Memorial Stadium in Kobe. All sessions will be streamed live on the Paralympics YouTube Channel and the World Para Athletics Facebook page. For updates and results from Team USA, follow U.S. Paralympics Track & Field on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Team USA Medals – May 17

Sayers Grooms – women’s 100-meter T72

Other Team USA Results
Korban Best – 4th, men’s 100-meter T47
Jaydin Blackwell  – finals, men’s 100-meter T38
Nick Mayhugh – finals, men’s 100-meter T38
Ryan Medrano – finals, men’s 100-meter T38
Noah Malone – finals, men’s 100-meter T12.

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