Blade Babe retains world T44 200m title on final session at World Para Athletics Championships
Two all-time greats were among the winners during the final session of World Para Athletics Championships action as Marlou van Rhijn and Marcel Hug secured further success in London.
The women’s T44 200m was held in a torrential downpour but it didn’t stop former swimmer Van Rhijn from winning her third title and also setting a championship record of 26.02. After being challenged up to halfway, she won by over a second from Germany’s 400m champion Irmgard Bensusan.
Britain’s Laura Sugar did not participate due to injury.
Van Rhijn said: “I ran my PB in conditions like this so I actually quite like the rain. It shouldn’t matter what the conditions are. I may be weird but I think this is fun.
“It’s amazing to win the 200m again and especially to do it here in this stadium where I won my first ever title.”
Hug won the men’s T54 5000m to claim his third gold of the championships to add to his 800m (which required two efforts) and 1500m titles. He just missed a medal in the 400m.
Well-placed throughout, the Swiss ‘silver bullet’ shot around the last lap in 47.5 to win by 0.40 of a second from Rawat Tana of Thailand.
“To win my third gold medal is a great way to end a great week and I am proud of what I did,” said Hug. “I was prepared for the rain and I had my rain gloves and I had a good grip. I was happy to take the lead and it was quite a tactical race. In the end it was all about being in the right position.”
After all the British successes in the morning and the previous nine days, the final session of a brilliant championships wasn’t as strong from a home perspective with just a single GB competitor and a fifth place finish.
In the women’s T53 800m, the 100m and 200m champion and the only GB competitor of the night, Sammi Kinghorn, didn’t manage her aim of claiming a fourth medal. She was in contention at 400 metres but faded over the last 200 metres and finished fifth in 1:57.04.
The race was won by China’s 400m champion Hongzhuan Zhou in 1:54.72 from 5000m champion Madison de Rozario.
China also won the F34 javelin through Lihuan Zou’s 20.67m throw.
Algerian Lohouari Bahlaz set the one world record of the night with a 11.08m winning throw in the F32 shot.
In the men’s T36 800m it was an Oceania clean sweep as James Turner won his third London gold. Trailing by a few metres as he hit the straight, the Australian changed pace dramatically and with a superb last 100m, the world record-holder took almost three seconds out of pacesetter William Stedman. New Zealand also took third spot as Keegan Pitcher finished strongly.
Charl du Toit was one of the most dominant winners of the championships as the South African won the men’s T37 400m in an African record 51.00, almost three seconds clear of the opposition to add to his 200m title.
Powerful Hungarian athlete Bernadeti Biacsi won the women’s T20 800m with a strong finish in a championships best 2:20.51.
The T42 women’s long jump was dominated by Italian Martina Caironi, who won by an almost a metre with a 4.72m best effort which came in the very final round to improve her lead by a single centimetre.
The women’s F12 shot also went to Italy as Assunta Legnante won with her sole measured throw of 15.82m.
The T11-13 men’s 4x100m relay, held in eery quiet so athletes could heat instructions, was a catalogue of errors.
Spain were seemingly the winners as they finished well clear. However, they were disqualified later and gold went to China, who dropped the baton at the final change but successfully retrieved it to win in 48.56. Brazil also dropped the baton at the last changeover but didn’t pick it up while USA failed to pass the baton at the second changeover.
The Americans initially looked to have done better in the men’s T42-47 4x100m relay as they crossed the finish line clear in a US record 41.32. However, the team was later disqualified for a faulty changeover, with gold going to Germany with 42.81.
The final event of the championships was the women’s T54 100m which was won by Finland’s Amanda Kotaja in 16.62.
» Full results can be found here, while further coverage from the World Para Athletics Championships is here, with the July 27 edition of AW magazine including reports, pictures and results from London