Aled Davies (coach: Ryan Spencer Jones) won his second gold medal of the IPC Athletics European Championships with an unstoppable world record of 54.14m in the F42 discus, adding a staggering five metres to his own official world record.
The Welshman retained his title from Swansea in fine style to add another major honour to his ever-growing collection. With a championship record of 47.84m in round two preceding the world best, he certainly found top form in Grosseto to blow away the competition.
Davies said: “I am absolutely delighted with that result. To throw a personal best on the main stage is something every athlete wants to do. For me, I was even more shocked because I haven’t been doing too much discus this year as I have been focusing on the shot put for Rio, but I know there is a lot more in the tank. I’m so happy with that – I don’t really throw PBs on the big stage all that often so it was nice to do it today.
“I managed to hold things together after the first round but as soon as that big throw came my body shut down, it was hard to go even further. I was shocked more than anything when the distance came up on the screen. I know I can throw a long way but the fact that I am surprised in myself is very exciting. I’m ecstatic to perform like that on the European stage against some top guys in the world.”
With the Rio Paralympics less than ten weeks away, these are encouraging signs for the four-time European champion:
Davies added: “I’m a Paralympic bronze medallist in the shot put and I want to upgrade that. Hopefully my Iranian rival (Sajad Mohammadian) is watching but he can get some big throws out there so I know it is going to be tough.”
On the British team’s medal haul so far, Davies said: “We have a great team here – after 2012 a few people left but a load of new faces have come in and it’s great to see them develop over the last four years. I know they are going to step up and make a name for themselves in Rio.”
Advancing to the T54 800m final is 200m gold medallist and 400m silver medallist Richard Chiassaro (Jenni Banks) who broke the championship record. It has been a strong campaign by the Harlow athlete so far and he will be looking for another visit to the podium in the final later this evening. He posted a time of 1:33.13 to win his semi-final with relative ease.
The newly crowned 400m and 5000m European champion David Weir (Jenny Archer) cruised through to the same final later today with a time of 1:36.02 behind Russia’s Aleksei Bychenok. Nathan Maguire (Steven Hoskins) also qualified for this evening’s final (16:24) as a fastest qualifier, recording 1:39.59.
Action continues from 15:00 UK time on the Channel 4 website: https://paralympics.channel4.com/competitions/grosseto-european-athletics-2016/news/newsid=1242147/index.html#live-ipc-athletics-european-championships
British Athletics medal tally at the IPC Athletics European Championships: (27)
Richard Chiassaro – T54 200m
Aled Davies – F42 Shot Put and Discus
Dan Greaves – F44-46 Discus
Toby Gold – T33 100m
Georgie Hermitage – T37/38 400m
Mo Jomni – T53 200m
Maria Lyle – T35 100m
David Weir – T54 400m and 5000m
Richard Whitehead – T42 100m
Dan Bramall – T33 100m
Richard Chiassaro – T54 400m
Sophie Hahn – T38 200m
Mo Jomni – T53 400m
Sam Ruddock – F35 Shot Put
Carly Tait – T34 100m and 400m
Isaac Towers – T34 400m
Jonathan Broom-Edwards – T42/44 High Jump
Mickey Bushell – T53 400m
Kadeena Cox – T38 200m
Jordan Howe – T35 200m
Steve Osborne – T51 100m
Ben Rowlings – T34 100m and 400m
Laura Sugar – T44 200m