Georgie Hermitage (coach: Paul MacGregor) claimed British Athletics’ sixth gold medal of the IPC Athletics World Championships in spectacular fashion, lowering her previous world record in the T37 400m to 1:02.01. Mo Jomni (Jenny Archer) added a bronze medal in the T53 200m, taking the team’s tally to 14 for the championships.
After winning the silver medal in the 100m on Thursday, Hermitage returned in phenomenal style to blow away her rivals and take a convincing victory. France’s Mandy Francois-Elie posed the biggest threat prior to the race, but such was Hermitage’s dominance, she took the win by over three seconds.
Greeted by her two year-old daughter Tilly after the race, a delighted Hermitage spoke about her overriding emotion after her victory.
“Relief – I’m so happy, it’s more than I ever expected. Today was all about just running the race and seeing where we ended up and not pushing it too much.
“My coach Paul MacGregor said ‘just go out there and don’t do an Anniversary Games (she broke the world record) and try and eyeball it. Just go out there, enjoy the race and relax.”
The Hampshire-based athlete added: “Coming off that final bend, I felt in really good shape and felt there was quite a bit in the tank, so that’s when I pushed.”
Jomni won his first world championship medal after clocking a lifetime best of 26.78 in the heats this morning. The Weir Archer Academy athlete was in impressive form on the day and had to use every ounce of energy to claim third spot.
Speaking after his medal-winning display, he said: “I came around the bend and the Thai athletes were kicking it on so I had to push it on. I was squinting my eyes and just saying over to myself ‘push push push’. To come third and get the medal is awesome, I’m really happy.
“I can only go up from here but the hardest part is how I am going to stay there. From here on I have to stay focused and maybe I’ll have an edge in my other races. I’m just going to put that medal under my pillow and try and pretend that I didn’t win so I can focus on the rest.”
In a rare appearance in the T42 100m, Richard Whitehead (Keith Antoine) showed his championship pedigree with a fourth place finish with a personal best of 12.55. The reigning Paralympic and world champion over the 200m applied his famous final surge but narrowly missed out on a spot on the podium.
Whitehead commented: “When I came into these championships it was about setting myself up for Rio and that’s really important. We’ve made lots of technical changes that luckily I’ve been able to adapt over the last six months from legs, to alignment, running style but maybe the 100m final was one too far.
“But 12.55 is a massive PB – I’m just disappointed that it’s a fourth and think my performance in the morning merited a little bit better in the evening.”
Sammi Kinghorn (Ian Mirfin) was racing in her third final in three days but did not let the busy schedule faze her as she finished sixth in the T53 400m. The Scot was quicker than in her semi-final during the morning session, recording 1:01.86 to finish behind Australia’s decorated five-time world champion, Angela Ballard.
It was encouraging start to Sam Bowen’s (Anthony Hughes) international athletics career, with the former sitting volleyball player finishing seventh in the F44 Discus Final after a best of 25.03m in the second round.
Fresh from his silver medal in the T54 1500m yesterday evening, David Weir (Jenny Archer) was involved in a tactical race in the 5000m semi-finals, manoeuvring into second place at the halfway mark. He held on to the position and advanced into tomorrow evening’s final where he will go for world title number seven at 15:04 (UK time).
Paul Blake (Rob Ellchuk) comfortably qualified for tomorrow evening’s T36 800m final with a time of 2:25.06. The reigning champion in the event ran a relaxed race and will go into his showdown with 400m champion, Evgenii Shvetcov in confident mood.
Zac Shaw (Peter Gifford) advanced to the final of the T13 200m with a personal best clocking of 22.93 (+1.7). It was another improvement from the Cleethorpes athlete who finished sixth in the 100m final yesterday.
Ben Rowlings (Job King) and Isaac Towers (Peter Wyman) both advanced to the T34 800m final with ease. The duo finished fourth and sixth respectively in the 400m final yesterday and returned to clock times of 1:51.94 (Rowlings) and 1:52.43 (Towers) to confirm British representation in the final tomorrow.
British Athletics’ medal tally at the IPC Athletics World Championships (14):
Gold (6): Jo Butterfield (F51 club throw), Hannah Cockroft (T34 100m), Kadeena Cox (T37 100m), Aled Davies (F42 shot put), Sophie Hahn (T38 100m), Georgie Hermitage (T37 400m)
Silver (5): Paul Blake (T36 400m), Georgie Hermitage (T37 100m), Maria Lyle (T35 200m), David Weir (T54 1500m & Marathon)
Bronze (3): Abbie Hunnisett (F32 club throw), Mo Jomni (T53 200m), Sammi Kinghorn (T53 200m)
Over two hours of live coverage each day will also be available to watch on More4 and a live stream will be available on the Channel 4 website: https://paralympics.channel4.com/competitions/athletics-world-championships-2015/video/index.html