Hannah Cockroft (coach: Jenni Banks), Aled Davies (Ryan Spencer-Jones) and Richard Whitehead (Keith Antoine) all won gold medals on a successful evening for the British Athletics team at the IPC Athletics World Championships in Doha. There were five further medals added to the tally on day seven of the competition.
One of the highlights of the night came in the T34 800m final with Cockroft leading home a British one-two-three, with Mel Nicholls (Job King) and 14 year-old Kare Adenegan (Job King) claiming the silver and bronze medals. Cockroft added a seventh world title to her collection in fine style, setting a championship record of 2:07.10.
The double Paralympic champion commented: “I don’t think any of us can believe that was a British 1-2-3. We are the ones to beat now heading into Rio which is very exciting. That race was really exciting today because we were so close. However, it also showed that I’m only 23 and I’m still the fastest in the world. I definitely had a point to prove and I have to do that again on Saturday (in the 400m).”
“The pressure is always there as I am always one of the ones to watch. Sometimes that can get to your head but I think I proved today that I can deal with it. I had to play the race to my strengths – I was pretty confident going with 200m left.”
Nicholls and the youngest member of the British team Adenegan were in equally impressive form, recording times of 2:09.26 and 2:09.66 respectively. The latter led the field after the opening lap before Cockroft made her move on the back straight to power her way to victory.
Nicholls added: “I’m more than delighted and it’s beyond incredible. Bronze was a big aim before, but I knew it was going to be tough and that would have been big. Silver is bigger than any of my dreams.”
Whitehead equalled the T42 200m world record of 24.10 he set in the semi-finals to grab Britain’s first gold medal of the evening. The Paralympic and world champion ignited his trademark sprint finish to overhaul the field making it a hat-trick of gold medals in the event.
Whitehead commented afterwards: “It’s a pressure cooker environment and it’s about delivering medals to make sure the tally keeps ticking over. I enjoy setting world records but I also enjoy being part of successful team. Other athletes in my event keep pushing me – if the event didn’t move on, I wouldn’t move on.
“I want to thank my Keith Antoine, one of the world’s best coaches who has put a great plan together; Tim Stevenson and Liz Yelling who have really put me in the right mind-set. People keep reminding me that I am 39 but I feel like I’ve got two great years still to come and being on top of the podium.”
Invictus Games champion in 2014, David Henson (Roger Keller) placed seventh in his first world final behind his mentor, Whitehead. Despite catching his blade as he came off the bend, Henson remained composed to finish in a time of 27.08.
The gold rush kept on coming in the F42 discus as Davies added another title to his shot put triumph on day one. The Welshman was in commanding form, leading from start to finish and throwing an official world record of 49.59m in round five to complete the double-double.
Davies said: “I’m delighted because it was one of the most consistent competitions ever for me. Six of the throws were in and four of them were over the old world record. I’m pain free as well which is the main thing.
“Ten weeks ago I never thought I would be here so I probably owe both my gold medals to the British Athletics medical team because they have put a lot of hard work in and without them, I wouldn’t have done it.”
Two more medals were added in the T33 100m final as debutants Dan Bramall (Rick Hoskins) and Toby Gold (Jenny Archer) won silver and bronze respectively. Bramall got the better start of the two Britons and held his form to earn his place of the podium with a time of 18.93. Gold, who trains at the Weir Archer Academy, will take home his first world medal after sealing third spot in 19.27.
After disappointment in the shot put earlier in the week, Kyron Duke (Anthony Hughes) was delighted to confirm the bronze medal in the F41 javelin. The Welshman threw a season’s best of 37.99m in round two to add a fourth world medal to his trophy-cabinet.
Sam Bowen (Hughes) was fifth in the F44 discus final, managing a best of 8.04m in the first round which drew her championships to a close. Competing in her second final in Doha, Claire Harvey (Shelley Holroyd) finished eighth in the F55 discus, achieving a lifetime best of 18.43m in round three.
Graeme Ballard (Tabo Huntley) was in stunning form as he won his semi-final to advance to tomorrow evenings T36 100m final. ‘Bullet Ballard’ had to negotiate two athletes false starting before finally getting under way, recording a time of 12.37. Jordan Howe (Antoine) also progressed to the T35 100m final, claiming the third qualifying spot in 12.92.
British Athletics’ medal tally at the IPC Athletics World Championships (24):
Gold (10): Paul Blake (T36 800m), Jo Butterfield (F51 club throw), Hannah Cockroft (T34 100m 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)
Silver (7): Paul Blake (T36 400m), Daniel Bramall (Rick Hoskins), Georgie Hermitage (T37 100m), Maria Lyle (T35 200m), Mel Nicholls (T34 800m), David Weir (T54 1500m & Marathon)
Bronze (7): Kare Adenegan (T34 800m), 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)
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