Another golden night for Britain at the IPC Athletics European Championships saw Georgie Hermitage (coach: Paul McGregor) set another world record on her way to gold and David Weir (Jenny Archer) took his third title of the week. In total, the British Athletics team won seven medals during the evening session on day four.
Fresh from winning the T37 400m in world record time yesterday evening, Hermitage was back at it again winning the 200m title in 27.21 (+1.1) bettering her lifetime best by almost a second. It was a superb run by the 400m world champion who won her first major title over the distance.
The 27 year old said afterwards: “I wanted to get a PB today – I didn’t think I would run low 27 seconds I was just hoping to be under 28 seconds! I’m just so happy to get the world record and win a second European gold medal.
“The 400m yesterday was very pressurised but the 200m isn’t a Rio event for me, however it is something I still really enjoy. I went into it a lot calmer and more relaxed so maybe that helped.”
On the team dynamic, Hermitage added: “The team is looking really good at the moment and it is great that we are winning so many medals. It is such a brilliant environment back at the hotel as everyone is really supportive. The team and Head Coach Paula Dunn are doing a brilliant job.”
The ‘Weir-wolf’ added a third European gold medal to his tally for the week after a commanding performance in the T54 800m final. In one of the most thrilling races of the evening, Weir powered away in the final 200m after the Russian Aleksei Bychenok had opened up a convincing lead. However, Weir moved away to victory with a fast finishing Richard Chiassaro (Jenni Banks) taking the silver medal. The European 200m gold medallist showed his supreme speed to nearly pip Weir to the gold.
Weir commented: “The Russian went off very quickly and maybe that was their plan but I stuck with it. I stayed in lane two and found a sprint in the last 200m. I knew I was going to catch him but I was just wondering where Rich (Chiassaro) was. It’s just a learning curve for me – I know the rest of the world isn’t here but I know they’ll be watching.”
Nathan Maguire (Steve Hoskins) finished seventh in the same race in a significant personal best of 1:38.49, slicing nearly four seconds off his previous best.
After three years out with injury after winning double Paralympic bronze in London, David Devine (Adrian Webb) returned to competitive action to win silver in the T13 1500m final. After been confined to the pool and the cross trainer for three years, he was able to make a comeback to training in December 2015 and after months of build-up he looked strong to take second place after leading for much of the race.
Devine had some inspiring words afterwards: “There have been so many times when I have wanted to quit but my mum and dad told me I couldn’t because I had too much talent and was too good to give in. The ultimate aim is to win the Paralympic gold medal one day so I have to say a big thank you to my parents for keeping me motivated.
“Athletics is an easy sport if it is going well but you show how good and determined you are when things aren’t going so well. You have to stick at it. If you put in the work, it will pay off.”
There was a return to the podium for Graeme Ballard (Trevor Painter) in the T36 100m final who despite a stumble in the closing stages took home the silver medal. The 36 year-old started well and came through in a time of 12.34 (-0.7)
Further medal success came in the T34 200m with Isaac Towers (Peter Wyman) claiming the bronze medal. It was his second silverware of the competition for the Blackpool, Wyre and Fylde athlete who still has the 800m to come. His time was 29.71 (+0.6) to settle behind the winner, Finland’s Henry Manni.
Recently honoured by Prince William as an MBE, Stephen Miller (Ros Miller) took home a well-earned bronze medal in the F32 club throw. A best distance of 30.92m was a season best for the three-time Paralympic champion.
Earlier, Zac Shaw (Joe McDonnell) was fifth in the T13 200m in a time of 22.89 (+0.3) whilst Carly Tait (Rick Hoskins) won the non-medal T34 800m final recording a time 2:18.98. Furthermore, Stephen Osborne (Jenni Banks) was fourth in the T51 400m final, just missing out on a medal spot in the last few pushes but set a time of 1:26.21. In the field, Joshua Bains (Paul Welch) was sixth with a first round best of 11.00m.
Unfortunately, Erin McBride (Robert Roberts) withdrew from the T13 400m final with a knee injury which is been treated as a precaution.
Action continues from 9:00 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: (33)
Richard Chiassaro – T54 200m
Aled Davies – F42 Shot Put and Discus
Dan Greaves – F44-46 Discus
Toby Gold – T33 100m
Georgie Hermitage – T37 200m and T37/38 400m
Mo Jomni – T53 200m
Maria Lyle – T35 100m
David Weir – T54 400m, 800m and 5000m
Richard Whitehead – T42 100m
Graeme Ballard – T36 100m
Dan Bramall – T33 100m
Richard Chiassaro – T54 400m and 800m
David Devine – T13 1500m
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
Isaac Towers – T34 200m