Athletics Weekly | Richard Whitehead storms to 100m silver for second medal in Rio - Athletics Weekly
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Richard Whitehead storms to 100m silver for second medal in Rio

Richard Whitehead storms to 100m silver for second medal in Rio

T42 200m champion Richard Whitehead is joint runner-up in the 100m, while his GB team-mates also secure silver in the women’s T35-38 4x100m at the Rio Paralympics

Richard Whitehead demonstrated his usual storming finish to dip for silver in the T42 100m on day eight of athletics action at the Rio Paralympics.

After successfully defending his 200m title, the 40-year-old Briton came through the field in the second half of the shorter sprint to clock 12.32 for his first global medal over this distance and a joint runner-up place with Denmark’s Daniel Wagner. Australia’s Scott Reardon, who had broken the Paralympic record with 12.26 in the heats, recorded exactly the same time for gold as Germany’s world record-holder and London 2012 champion Heinrich Popow finished fourth in 12.46.

“It’s a silver in an event that is not my favourite,” said Whitehead, who has a 2:42:54 marathon PB but switches to sprints on the Paralympic stage because the 26.2-mile event doesn’t form part of the programme for his classification. “I’m not from a sprint background so going from a marathon to a 100m, some would have said was impossible.”

The British women’s T35-38 4x100m relay team also added to ParalympicsGB’s medal tally, the world record-holders from last summer securing silver as a Chinese quartet smashed the world record with 50.81. Britain’s Kadeena Cox, who has now won four Rio medals across the two sports of athletics and cycling, together with Maria Lyle, Georgie Hermitage and Sophie Hahn also dipped under the old record mark with 51.07, while the Australian team was third with 55.09.

“I’m buzzing,” said 16-year-old Lyle. “I don’t know about the other girls but when I watched the British relay (4x100m) medal at the Olympics, that just made me want to race here so much.

“We have done our best; we couldn’t have done any more today. We’ll certainly be going for that gold in London next year on home ground.”

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USA’s Tatyana McFadden again led a US 1-2-3, the triple London 2012 champion winning the T54 5000m to claim her third gold in Rio and her fourth medal of the Games at that point, keeping her on track for her target of seven medals in Brazil.

Like in the 1500m, McFadden was joined by Amanda McGrory and Chelsea McClammer on the podium, but this time their positions were switched as McClammer claimed silver in 11:54.33 and McGrory bronze in 11:54.34. Australia’s Madison de Rozario was just outside the medals with her time of 11:54.46.

It was two relay events and two world record-breaking victories for China as just before the T35-38 4x100m, a T53/54 4x400m team had taken more than eight seconds off the nation’s own world record for a big victory ahead of USA – 3:32.11 the winning time. In forming part of that US relay team, McFadden claimed her fifth medal in Rio so far and her second of the evening.

Thailand’s Pongsakorn Paeyo judged his race to perfection as a final surge saw the 19-year-old wheelchair racer take the T53 800m title in 1:40.78 to add that gold to his 400m win and silver in the 100m. In a close finish, silver went to France’s Pierre Fairbank, who won his Paralympic 200m title back in 2000, with a time of 1:40.97. Canada’s Brent Lakatos came through for bronze, clocking 1:41.09 to claim his third medal of the Games after 100m gold and 400m silver.

Marlou van Rhijn was dominant in the T44 200m final, the Dutch ‘Blade Babe’, who is a double below-knee T43 sprinter, improving her own Paralympic record with a time of 26.16 ahead of single amputee T44 world record-holder Irmgard Bensusan of Germany with 26.90. France’s Marie-Amélie Le Fur claimed a third medal in Rio, adding bronze in a time of 27.11 to her gold medals claimed in the T44 400m and long jump.

GB’s Laura Sugar finished a fine fifth in 28.31 after a PB of 28.04 in her heat and also contests the 100m in Rio. “I nailed the bend and I thought I was on for another PB but I got to 50m and my legs turned to jelly,” she said. “Maybe it was tiredness after setting my PB yesterday but the Swiss athlete was coming through strongly so I still don’t think my position would have changed.

“I’ve finished fifth in the world and I was ranked eighth coming into this so I am so happy.”

Looking ahead to the 100m, she added: “I’m super excited because I was with them after the bend. I know the fast times are in there but I just need to recover now.”

China’s Wang Jun beat world record-holder and world champion Mariia Pomazan of Ukraine in the F35 shot put and it took a world record-breaking throw to do it, both athletes improving on the old record mark with throws of 13.91m and 13.59m respectively. Brazil’s Marivana Oliveira claimed a medal in front of home fans with a South American record 9.28m.

Another world record was broken in the F41 discus final and this time Tunisia’s Raoua Tlili added more than three metres to her own record mark with 33.38m to get her second Rio gold after shot put success. Ireland’s Niamh McCarthy secured silver with 26.67m to deny Tunisia a clean sweep of the medals as Tlili’s team-mates Fathia Amaimia and Samar Ben Koelleb threw 26.16m and 25.79m respectively. Britain’s 2013 world bronze medallist Holly Neill, who also claimed European bronze this summer, placed eighth with a best throw of 23.13m.

A close finish in the men’s T11 200m for visually impaired sprinters ended with Namibia’s Ananias Shikongo narrowly denying Felipe Gomes a win on home soil, clocking a 22.44 Paralympic record to the Brazilian’s 22.52. The host nation did secure two podium places though, as Daniel Silva clocked 23.04 for bronze. Cuba’s double world champion Leinier Savon Pineda won the T12 100m in 10.97, the visually impaired athlete having also placed eighth in the long jump final so far.

Colombia’s Mauricio Valencia got gold in the F34 javelin with a throw of 36.65m after his shot put bronze, while Jianwen Hu led a Chinese 1-2 in the T38 long jump, the world record-holder leaping a 6.64m Paralympic record to beat Huanghao Zhong with 6.59m.

Full results can be found here.

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