Blade Babe retains world T44 200m title on final session at World Para Athletics Championships
Sophie Kamlish and Hannah Cockroft win world titles in LondonJuly 17, 2017
Two more gold medals for GB as sprinter Kamlish secures her first major title after earlier world record run and Cockroft claims her ninth world win
Fresh from smashing her own T44 100m record in her heat earlier on in the day, Britain’s Sophie Kamlish returned to the track to further impress at the World Para Athletics Championships, dominating the final to claim her first major title.
Storming away from the start, she clocked 12.92 for victory to beat the fast-finishing defending champion Marlou van Rhijn of Netherlands who clocked 13.20.
Van Rhijn has dominated the event since the London 2012 Paralympics in the same London Stadium, but after making such a statement earlier on in the day with her world record-breaking time of 12.90, Kamlish was clearly a force to be reckoned with.
The Briton had set the previous T44 world record in her heat in Rio but there the single-leg amputee had gone on to finish fourth. This time she was determined not to suffer the same fate.
“It was definitely a case of being very worried about the same as Rio,” she said. “My brain kept taking me back there, but I relaxed and focused on myself.
“I was so shocked. The whole day I’ve been nervous and I never feel that for races. Hopefully I can continue this now. I eased off in the heat so hopefully I can go quicker still.”
Behind her was Van Rhijn, who holds the T43 world record for double below-knee amputee sprinters at 12.79, working her way through to secure silver ahead of Nyoshia Cain of Trinidad and Tobago with 13.25. Britain’s Laura Sugar was fifth in 13.49.
“I was thinking I would be happy with a medal but I knew deep down that I would be disappointed if it wasn’t gold,” added Kamlish, who had beaten Van Rhijn for the first time in May at the Arcadis Great CityGames Manchester. “I have been wanting this since I started competing and now I have got it.”
Hannah Cockroft had expected that the 800m final was going to be a tactical affair but she judged it to perfection to gain her second gold of the championships.
After her world record-breaking 100m win on Friday, Cockroft was again in record-breaking form as this time she improved her own championship best to 2:01.77 to beat USA’s Alexa Halko (2:03.49) and her British team-mate Kare Adenegan (2:05.76), with Carly Tait fourth (2:21.61).
She will now look to retain a third world title when she contests the 400m on Thursday.
“I’ve never been more nervous before a race,” admitted the winner.
“It’s still as loud as ever out there,” added the double London 2012 champion. “To get this opportunity again five years on is amazing.”
Richard Whitehead was another to add to Britain’s medal haul as he claimed T42 100m bronze after his victory in the 200m two days before.
He clocked 12.39 in a race won by his rival Scott Reardon of Australia in 12.21 and later announced his plans to continue competing on the track until the Tokyo 2020 Games, despite having previously hinted that he might retire after this season.
“It’s great to have another opportunity to race in front of the home crowd,” said the two-time Paralympic champion, who celebrates his 41st birthday on Wednesday. “I enjoy competing and I enjoy putting on the GB vest, but sometimes it just doesn’t happen.
“Unfortunately you have to accept the ups and downs in life, and I was beaten by two better guys today.”
He told the crowd: “I’m sorry I didn’t win for you but I’m going to stay in the game another two years and go to Tokyo. Hopefully I can get another Paralympic title.”
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USA’s wheelchair racing great Tatyana McFadden was another who continued to impress, adding the T54 400m title won in 53.74 to the gold medals already secured in the 200m and 1500m in London, her win over the longer distance coming only earlier on in the day.
She will now turn her attention to Tuesday’s 800m heats.
“It has been a really good day!” she said. “It was a really nice night, perfect weather and a really strong competition.”
Germany’s Markus Rehm is the dominant force in the T44 long jump and true to form he won his fourth world title, his winning leap of 8.00m more than a metre further than any of his rivals could record.
Ronald Hertog of Netherlands was second with 6.94m.
James Turner smashed the T36 200m world record again after his time in his heat, running 24.09 for victory as Britain’s Graeme Ballard and Paul Blake were sixth and eighth respectively.
A championship record was set in the men’s T20 1500m as USA’s Michael Brannigan got gold in a time of 3:53.05 as Steve Morris and James Hamilton placed fourth and sixth respectively for GB. The women’s race was won by Poland’s Barbara Niewiedzial in 4:33.82.
There was a big crash in the men’s T54 800m which ended Richard Chiassaro’s hopes of success. Four athletes were affected, but ‘Swiss Silver Bullet’ Marcel Hug was clear ahead and he cruised over the finish line to take the title in 1:37.64. After results appeared it was later announced that the race will be re-run on Friday, with Chiassaro disqualified.
The men’s T34 400m was won by Tunisia’s Walid Ktila in a championship record 50.56, as GB’s Ben Rowlings finished fifth with 54.34 and Isaac Towers seventh in 54.66. After his silver behind Jonnie Peacock over 100m, Germany’s Johannes Floors returned to take the T43 400m title in a championship record of 46.67.
In a T11 200m final missing GB’s double Paralympic sprint champion Libby Clegg through injury, Rio bronze medallist Zhou Guohua led a China 1-2, clocking 25.27 ahead of Rio silver medallist Liu Cuiqing with 25.65.
Latvia’s Diana Dadzite broke the world record with her throw of 27.07m to win the F56 javelin. Other winners on the fourth evening of action were USA’s Tobi Fawehinmi in the T47 triple jump, China’s Zhao Yuping in the F13 javelin, Brazil’s Daniel Martins in the T20 400m, Germany’s Sebastian Dietz in the F36 shot put and Ukraine’s Leilia Adzhametova in the T13 100m.
Belgium’s Peter Genyn won the T51 400m, China’s Sun Pengxiang the F41 javelin, Finland’s Michail Seitis the T44 400m and Poland’s Joanna Mazur the T11 1500m.
After winning the T13 100m the evening before, Ireland’s Jason Smyth dominated the 200m heats, clocking 21.89 to ease into Tuesday’s final.