Belgian para-athlete breaks world record 100m wheelchair sprint

Belgian para-athlete breaks world record 100m wheelchair sprint
Paralympian athlete Roger Habsch pictured in action during the final of the Men's 100m T51 athletics event on day ten of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, Friday 03 September 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. BELGA PHOTO JASPER JACOBS

Belgian wheeler Roger Habsch broke the world record in the T51 class of the 100m sprint, at a time of 0:19.68, at the Belgian Championships held in Ghent.

Habsch broke the record set by Peter Genyn in 2021 by just three hundredths of a second. He represented RFC Liège for the T51 class, which is a classification for wheelchair athletes who have "mild weakness in shoulders, limited ability in straightening elbows and wrist function. No finger, trunk or leg function," according to The Sporting Wheelies and Disabled Association.

"I didn't expect to break the world record here and it didn't immediately occur to me when I saw my time," Habsch told the Belgian Paralympics team. Habsch represented Belgium at the 2020 summer Paralympics, where he won bronze medals in the T51 100m and T52 200m.

"When I was told after the finish that I had the world record, I did not believe it, but of course, I am very happy, especially since the last few weeks have been very difficult."

For the T51 race, athletes use a wheelchair with three wheels — two large wheels in the back and one smaller wheel in front of them. Wearing helmets and thick gloves over their hands, the athletes attempt to sprint down the track as fast as they can.

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Maxime Carabin also broke a record in class T52 100m, with a time of 0:16.53. Carabin beat the record set by Switzerland's Beat Bösch in 2010. The T52 classification is described as any "wheelchair athlete with good shoulder, elbow and wrist function. Limited finger movements. No leg or trunk function."

Carabin is just a few hundredths of a second away from the record set by American athlete Raymond Martin. Both records will be sent to the International Paralympic Committee for verification.

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