Further silverware was won on the morning of day five at the IPC Athletics European Championships. Jo Butterfield (Philip Peat/Shona Malcolm) threw an outstanding world record of 22.75m, adding 85cm to the previous official mark to take the gold medal and lead a British 1-2-3-4 in the F31/32/51 club throw.
After claiming the world title in Doha last year, Butterfield (F51) came into the championships as the favourite within the mixed classification event and confirmed European gold with a remarkable series. Her first four throws all exceeded the previous world record mark with bests of 22.18m, 22.39m, 22.25m and 22.75m.
A delighted Butterfield said: “I am absolutely over the moon – it has been a really long week. I’ve been watching everyone compete and it has been a long wait to get out there. I was getting a bit more nervous each day because I just wanted to get out there and perform how I knew I could do. I have been throwing really well in training and this is the best shape I have ever been in so I am just so happy to do it. To be double European champion is so special.”
On her roommate Georgie Hermitage who has also set two world records this week, she added: “We both get on really well but there was no way I was going to let her be the only gold medallist in that room, I would have never heard the end of it!”
There was further medal joy for Great Britain in the event with Gemma Prescott (F32) (Mike Wood) setting a championship record for silver with 21.08m, and world bronze medallist Abbie Hunnisett (F32) (Anthony Hughes) securing the bronze with a first round best of 20.32m. Kylie Grimes (F51) (Philip Peat) was narrowly outside a medal on the Raza points scale but an equal personal best of 17.04m showed the vast improvements the athlete is making within the discipline.
Prescott said: “It is great to be back in good form and I am looking forward to Rio now. At this point in the season I am in a very good place but I know there is a lot more to come for the rest of the year. To get that consistency back is encouraging and acts as a baseline of where I want to be. It gives me that springboard to want to throw further. I don’t like to dwell on the past but last year wasn’t great for me but 2016 is shaping up fantastically so far.”
Hunnisett also mentioned: “It is great to get a medal and is my second furthest throw of the year so far. After coming back from injury it is a positive sign as I look ahead to Rio.”
Jordan Howe (Keith Antoine) collected his second bronze medal of the week, this time in the T35 100m. Despite a slip out of the blocks, the Welshman retained his bronze medal from Swansea in a close final, clocking 13.13 (-2.1). After injuries have interrupted his training in recent months, the championships in Grosseto have acted as a boost to the 20 year-old’s confidence.
Howe spoke afterwards: “I had a bit of a slip at the start and it was hard to get going but it is another bronze medal for the team and I’ve matched my result from Swansea. When I raced these guys last, there was a massive gap between us but it was very close today. It is good to know the training is paying off after the operation but the good times are going to come.”
In the men’s T44 100m semi-finals, Jonnie Peacock (Dan Pfaff) ran his fastest time since the Anniversary Games in 2013, stopping the clock in 10.88 (+0.6). It also coupled as a championship record and the reigning European champion will be looking to keep the title in his grasp in the final at 16:58 (UK time).
In the final track action of the morning, James Arnott (Ryan Freckleton) qualified for the T47 100m final (17:17 UK time) with a third place finish in 11.58 (-1.5). It was comfortably progression for the City of Plymouth athlete who was close behind two of the favourites for medals later this evening.
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: (38)
Jo Butterfield – F31/32/51 Club Throw
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
Gemma Prescott – F31/32/51 Club Throw
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 100m and 200m
Abbie Hunnisett – F31/32/51 Club Throw
Stephen Miller – F32 Club Throw
Steve Osborne – T51 100m
Ben Rowlings – T34 100m and 400m
Laura Sugar – T44 200m
Isaac Towers – T34 200m