29 January 2011
Bethany Woodward - continuing her incredible progress under the guidance of coach Jonas Dodoo - raced to a new lifetime best and gold medal in the T37 400m at the IPC Athletics World Championships in Christchurch, New Zealand (21-30 January) this morning.
Woodward, already a bronze medallist in the T35-38 4 x 100m relay, ran a tactically perfect race to clock 1:09.21 for victory, her first ever sub-70 second performance.
“I’m very emotional,” admitted the Lee Valley-based 18-year-old. “The wind was quite difficult as I came around the bend but I really had no concept of how tough it was out there other than the fact that the rain was refreshing.
“The Russian (Anastasiya Ovsyannikova, bronze medallist in 1:10.26) was my main threat but I caught her just before the bend. I’d watched her race in the heats and I knew she’d be strong in the final 200m so I’d talked it through with my coach Jonas; we were second guessing a bit on tactics but we got it right!
“I’d hoped to win a medal in the 400m,” she added; “that’s given me so much confidence going into my preparation for London. I know I’ve performed here and it’s made me realise I can perform in 2012 too.”
Also competing in this morning’s finals, Jade Jones (coach: Ian Thompson/Tanni Grey-Thompson) completed her tough three event World Championships programme with a seventh place finish in the T54 400m (1:04.74).
The 15-year-old, one of the youngest athletes in the competition, was relieved to complete her busy schedule but pleased to have progressed successfully through to the last eight in each race.
“It’s been a good experience but it’s been hard,” she admitted. “I didn’t have huge expectations coming into the competition, it was just great to get here, but it was definitely an achievement to get through to the finals and I’m now motivated to train even harder. I’ve done well and I’m happy.”
She’s been in incredibly talented company on each track outing, and on this occasion it was multiple Paralympic Games medallist and three-times world champion Tatyana McFadden (USA) who made it four gold medals with yet another outstanding victory in the one-lap event (54.88).
There was disappointment for Ian Jones (coach: John Dunne) in the final of the T44 400m, however. Having got off to a great start, the 200m finalist came off the final bend in a podium position but was unable to finish the race after pulling up with what looked like lower leg pain.
Tonight’s action commences at 17.30 NZ time (04.30 UK time) with double world championships silver medallist Paul Blake (coach: Rob Ellchuk) in the men’s T36 400m final.
For the latest news about the 2011 IPC Athletics World Championships, please visit www.ipcathleticsworldchamps.com, while the IPC’s online TV channel www.ParalympicSport.TV is broadcasting live coverage of the evening sessions from Christchurch.
Daily session reports will be posted on the UKA website: www.uka.org.uk