Three golds for Great Britain on superb night of action at the London 2012 Paralympic Games
There were shades of ‘Super Saturday’ inside the London 2012 Stadium tonight as Britain added three gold medals to their Paralympic athletics tally.
David Weir, who is fast becoming one of the stars of the Games, picked up his third gold medal of the Games with a stunning display in the T54 800m that was just as dominant as his victories in the 5000m and 1500m.
He allowed China’s Zhang Lixin to take the early lead and followed him closely before hitting top gear on the final bend with what has now become his trademark finish to move into the lead. He crossed the line in 1:37.63 with Switzerland’s Marcel Hug in second.
“That was hard work tonight, I had to dig deep,” admitted Weir, who has the marathon yet to come. “You always have doubts because it’s a strong field. You can’t underestimate anyone.
“I knew the Chinese guy Zhang had a better top speed than anyone tonight so I knew if he was going to go out quick I had to match his speed. That’s what I said to Jenny (Archer, his coach), I’ll make sure I get on whoever’s wheel in the first 200m if it was Marcel or the Chinese guy.”
Weir’s win completed lifted the stadium but just moments after the capacity crowd fell silent for the start of the men’s T44 100m. It had been billed as the race of the Games – South African superstar Oscar Pistorius was out to defend his title, Alan Oliveira – the Brazilian who beat Pistorius in the 200m – was looking for another medal, USA had a strong presence with three finalists and host nation hopes were high for Britain’s Jonnie Peacock.
After a faulty start from Oliveira, and a plea from Peacock for the crowd to quieten down after they repeatedly chanted his name, the race got underway at the second time of asking.
The 19-year-old got off to the best start and by half way he had a lead over his nearest challenger, USA’s Richard Browne. Peacock continued to pull away and he stopped the clock in 10.90, smashing the Paralympic record. Brown took silver with South Africa’s Arnu Fourie finishing third, one place ahead of team-mate Pistorius.
“This is absolutely amazing,” said Peacock, who trains alongside Olympic long jump champion Greg Rutherford. “To run in front of so many people here was crazy. I hadn’t been able to sleep in the three nights before this.
“I knew I had potential coming into this, I would have liked to have ran a little quicker but it was enough in the end. This will live with me forever, I could not have wished for better. It is such a relief because the last year has just been one huge build up.”
Earlier in the evening Hannah Cockroft won her second gold of the Games with an utterly dominant victory in the women’s T34 200m. Having broken the Paralympic record in the heats with 33.20, she went significantly quicker in the final with a 31.89 clocking – just a few tenths outside the world record.
“I could have gone quicker but I can’t complain, the gold medal was what I wanted,” she said. “This summer has been breathtaking, this is what all the training has been for. I hope we’re doing everyone proud; everyone’s excited and I don’t want this to ever end, it’s been amazing.”
Five other athletics medals were won by British athletes today. In a highly competitive F44 discus final, Dan Greaves took silver behind USA’s Jeremy Campbell as both athletes surpassed the previous Games record.
Paul Blake picked up a bronze in the T36 800m, while Ben Rushgrove finished third in the T36 200m. Ola Abidogun was third in the T46 100m, and Bev Jones was third in the F37 discus.