London - Athletes at the London Paralympics are on course to break more world records than in Beijing four years ago, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) said on Tuesday.
In the first week of the Games to Tuesday, 137 new world records were set, with a further 81 new Paralympic bests, according to London 2012 organisers LOCOG.
Twenty-eight new world records were set on Monday, notably on the track, where El Amin Chentouf of Morocco smashed the previous best by over 30 seconds in the T12 5 000m for blind and visually impaired runners, finishing in 13min 53.77sec.
Kenya's Samwel Mushai Kimani, with guide runner James Boit, then became the first Paralympian to run the 1 500m under four minutes in the T11 final, beating Brazil's Odair Santos, who was also inside the previous record of 4min 03.66sec.
Meanwhile in the pool, Britain's Ellie Simmonds lowered the world record twice in qualifying for and winning the final of the women's S6 200m individual medley.
IPC media and communications director Craig Spence said there were 279 world records in Beijing and the performances so far had demonstrated the improvements made in the last four years.
“The fact is our athletes are getting better. They're training full-time. This is not just a hobby sport. It's professional sport at its very best,” he told a news conference.
“Some countries are enjoying far better levels of funding, which in turn leads to better results. We would like to put it down to their (the athletes') hard work rather than anything else.”
Spence explained that more world records were always more likely at the Paralympics than at the Olympics, as there are more gold medal events - 503 compared to about 300.
But he said that unlike in previous editions, the Games were becoming more competitive and that was being reflected in times between competitors.
“World records used to be broken by 10 to 15 seconds. But the margins people are breaking world records by is now plateauing... I think it's a good sign at the end of the day that or athletes are getting better.”