It was a spectacular end to the IPC Athletics World Championships for the British Athletics’ team, winning three gold and one bronze medal on the final day of action in Doha. Hollie Arnold (coach: Anthony Hughes), Hannah Cockroft (Jenni Banks) and the women’s T35-38 4x100m relay team took Britain’s gold medal tally up to 13 and 32 overall, surpassing the medal count from Lyon two years ago.
The women’s T35-38 4x100m relay team consisting of Olivia Breen (Jonas Tawiah-Dodoo), Maria Lyle (Tabo Huntley), Georgie Hermitage (Paul MacGregor) and Sophie Hahn (Joe McDonnell) obliterated the world record, setting a time of 52.22 to cruise to victory.
Breen got off to an impressive start and handed over to T35 100m and 200m silver medallist Lyle, who closed the gap on the back straight. T37 400m champion Hermitage showed her endurance strength over the penultimate leg, overtaking the Australian and Russian teams before giving Hahn the task of anchoring the team to golden success in record-breaking fashion.
Hahn said: “It was an amazing feeling, particularly when the world record flashed up on the screen. It is an exciting time heading into Rio and hopefully we will get faster.”
Hermitage, who added another medal to her 400m gold and 100m silver commented: “I haven’t done a relay since I was 11 so I was so happy to get it round well and win the gold alongside these girls. It is the cherry on top of the cake.”
Cockroft earned her third title of the week in the T34 400m with team mate Kare Adenagan (Job King) bagging a second bronze medal of the championships. Cockroft made a quick start, pulling away from her rivals over the opening 100m and ensured the victory with a championship record of 1:02.66.
The seven-time world champion spoke after: “This one feels amazing – in my last 400m race I was beaten by Kare (Adenegan) and I came into this race not knowing what was going to happen. Luckily I drew the best lane draw and having Kare and Alexa (Halko) on my outside meant that if I could just chase them down, knock them off one-by-one then I could get my head down and finish the race.”
Cockroft spoke about the whole teams efforts afterwards: “It’s been fantastic to be a part of the Great Britain team. We’ve got so many new and young faces and as well as being full of respect for those that have experience, they’ve really held their own. We’ve seen world records fall and athletes getting upset with silver medals and it just goes to show that they really want to be the best in the world.
14 year old Adenegan collected another world medal finishing narrowly behind the American Alexa Halko in 1:04.78 with training partner Mel Nicholls (Job King) fifth, posting a time of 1:08.29
Adenagan said: I am so happy to get two bronze medals at my first world championships. It was close between silver and bronze; Alexa (Halko) just got me. I am a tiny bit disappointed because I really wanted that silver medal but I’ve had so many close races with Alexa.”
Hollie Arnold (Anthony Hughes) retained the F46 javelin title that she won at the previous world championship in splendid style, setting a championship record of 40.53m. The Wales-based athlete took the lead in the second round, first extending the record to 40.03m before unleashing her biggest throw in round three.
Arnold spoke afterwards: “I’m over the moon – I’m really happy with my performance. I did want to go out there and break the world record, but in this heat, I was melting. I know there is more to come which is a massive positive.
The 21 year-old made sure all the world champions in Lyon regained their titles in Doha, saying: “I was aware of that and I did feel the pressure. Just going out there and feeling the energy and positivity, I knew I could go out there and win.”
After winning an unexpected bronze in the 400m on Thursday, 17 year old Shaun Burrows (Joe McDonnell) was content with fifth position in the T38 100m. These championships have represented a coming of age for the teenager as finished in the top five in his second world final.
Ben Rowlings (Job King) rounded off a busy championships in the T34 200m final, crossing the line in 29.63. After two fourth place finishes in finals prior to this event, the Coventry athlete will have plenty of confidence heading into 2016.
After an injury-plagued 18 months, Rhys Jones (Keith Antoine) was grateful to reach the T37 100m final in Doha and finished in eighth place, clocking a time of 12.12 to match his performance in Lyon two years ago.
Graeme Ballard (Tabo Huntley), who was fourth in the T36 100m final bought his campaign to an end with a sixth place in the T36 200m final posting a time of 25.67.
After surpassing the team’s medal target Paralympic Head Coach Paula Dunn said: “We came out to Doha with the aim of winning 26-30 medals, 10-12 of those being gold and we hit that objective before we even started the final session. We can’t afford to take this for granted going into a Paralympic year, but it’s a really good indication of the strength and depth we have across the board.
“Six debutants have medalled, five world records have been broken and all six of the reigning world champions here have regained their titles, which goes to show we are in a really strong position moving forwards.
“We’ve got a huge two years ahead with both Rio and a home championships in London on the horizon and I am confident that we can replicate and even surpass the performances we’ve seen over the last 10 days of action.”
British Athletics’ medal tally at the IPC Athletics World Championships (32):
Gold (13): Hollie Arnold (F46 Javelin), Paul Blake (T36 800m), Jo Butterfield (F51 club throw), Hannah Cockroft (T34 100m, 400m and 800m), Kadeena Cox (T37 100m), Aled Davies (F42 shot put and discus), Sophie Hahn (T38 100m), Georgie Hermitage (T37 400m), Richard Whitehead (T42 200m), (Olivia Breen, Maria Lyle, Georgie Hermitage and Sophie Hahn – T35-38 4x100m relay)
Silver (10): Paul Blake (T36 400m), Daniel Bramall (T33 100m), Jonathan Broom-Edwards (T44 High Jump), Sophie Hahn (T38 200m), Georgie Hermitage (T37 100m), Maria Lyle (T35 100m and 200m), Mel Nicholls (T34 800m), David Weir (T54 1500m & Marathon)
Bronze (9): Kare Adenegan (T34 400m and 800m), Shaun Burrows (T38 400m), Jo Butterfield (F52 Discus), Kyron Duke (F41 Javelin), Toby Gold (T33 100m), Abbie Hunnisett (F32 club throw), Mo Jomni (T53 200m), Sammi Kinghorn (T53 200m)