21 August 2014
Sammi Kinghorn (Ian Mirfin) cruised to her third gold medal and Maria Lyle (Henry Gray) to her second in another medal-filled day for GB & NI at the IPC European Championships in Swansea.
Kinghorn added T53 800m gold to her previous triumphs in the 100m and 400m to complete a remarkable international debut for the teenage prodigy.
The 18 year old said: I’m ecstatic, I just can’t believe it. I came here just to do my best and see what happens and that what happens turned into three gold medals. It's been a crazy few days but I have tried to focus while still enjoying it and taking it all in.
“I might cry this time. The first two times I couldn’t get my emotions up too high because I didn’t want to carry that into my next races. I just wanted to stay focused and I’ve got three gold medals which is far more than I expected,” added Kinghorn, who will compete at the Sainsbury’s IPC Grand Prix Final on Sunday.”
Lyle meanwhile showed maturity beyond her years as the 14 year old blew the competition away in the T35 200m to claim gold and add to the 100m title she picked up in similar style yesterday. The precocious talent from Dunbar never looked back as she led from start to finish in windy conditions to claim the sprint double crossing the line in impressive time of 31.05
An ecstatic Lyle said afterwards: “I'm really happy and I'm glad all the hard work paid off. I just want to thank everyone for helping me. I just need to keep training like I always do and working hard.
“I need to keep training and doing what I’m doing and hopefully I’ll be selected to go to the World Championships. The support here has been really good and keeps me going. I was exhausted going for my celebration but I’m very pleased.”
Aled Davies (Anthony Hughes) thrived on the home support as the fans favourite won gold medal in the F42 shot put. The Commonwealth silver medallist continued his medal-winning summer in fine style at the Swansea University track. His furthest throw came in the second round achieving a distance of 13.66m and in the process beating the rest of the field by over a metre.
The Paralympic, World and newly crowned European champion said: “It was lovely to come back home after Glasgow and win a medal in my own back yard. The British team is doing very well which is great to see and from a personal point of view it’s good to get the win as I work towards Rio.”
Ola Abidogun (Grant Barker) grabbed a superb silver medal in the T47 200m in a time of 11.38. The 21 year-old who won bronze at the London 2012 Paralympic Games finished close behind his Polish rival, Michal Mateusz Derus.
“I think I ran well considering the conditions – it was raining and cold. Michal didn’t streak away from me and I still believed I could catch him. I’m happy with how I did today but I think I still need to race a few times more this season. I came into this race ranked second and I finished there. I would have liked to have picked up the gold but silver is better than nothing.”
Richard Whitehead (Keith Antoine) was unable to defend his European T42 200m title from two years ago, finishing in the silver medal position behind Russia’s Anton Prokhorov, who set a personal best of 26.48.
Reflecting on his race, the 38 year old said: “I’m obviously disappointed it was quite tough today and not really the conditions I wanted. I’m not really a wet weather athlete. Conditions didn’t really favour me and my hips are really sore now. There was a lot of pressure on the bend and credit to the guy who pushed on I didn’t really have it today – it wasn’t my day. The conditions created another issue.”
Despite an injury-interrupted last 12 months, Birchfield Harrier Mickey Bushell (Jenny Archer) continued his strong championships winning silver in the T53 200m clocking a time of 29.20.
Bushell said: “It’s a stepping stone ready for the winter now, so I’m looking forward to next year and the World Championships in Doha.
“Pierre (Fairbank) is one of the best in the world so it was good to race him and assessing ahead of next year. I’m very happy to come away with two medals - I’m not up to full fitness just yet, so I’m getting there.”
Graeme Ballard (Tabo Huntley) showed that he is the Benjamin Button of the athletics world, as the 35 year old claimed silver in the T36 200m to add to the silver he won in the 100m. In a tight finish, the Chorley athlete held off Roman Pavlyk, who made a lunge for the line in third.
Welshman, Jordan Howe (Keith Antoine) claimed his second bronze of the championships in the T35 200m to the delight of the home crowd clocking a time of 28.73. Laura Sugar (Femi Akinsanya) also followed up her bronze in the 100m, with bronze in the T44 200m, while teammate Sophie Kamlish (Robert Ellchuk) came home in fifth with a seasons best of 30.90.
Howe said: “It means the world to me. I didn’t think I could win two bronze medals but I did and showed them all what I can do. Hopefully they’ll (opponents) be scared of me in the next couple of years.”
A delighted Sugar added: “I’m chuffed. For some reason I was even more nervous, I was really nervous today. I was getting in the blocks and just thinking to myself ‘nail your start, go for it’. my coach said before it’s about how much you want it and with that last 50m I with the wind in my face I was just thinking ‘How much do you want it, how much do you want it?”
Jade Jones (Tanni Grey-Thompson/Ian Thompson) continued to show her undoubted talent with her third medal of the summer taking silver in the T54 800m, with Shelly Woods (Archer) with a gutsy display to finish fifth.
Jones said: It feels incredible (to win silver) and it’s great to have that going into next year. It’s such a confidence boost, but it also shows what training I need to do in the next 12 months in the lead up to Doha.”
Sprinter turned thrower Sam Ruddock (Jim Edwards) showed his transition into the field finishing fifth in the F35 shot put, while Jonathan Adams (Edwards) came a place ahead in fourth with a best throw of 11.71m.
Joshua Bain (Paul Welch) set a lifetime best when it mattered in the F36/37 javelin final as the Briton finished in fourth position, while Marie Hawkeswood (Alison O’Riordan) finished in sixth in the F56 javelin and Isaac Towers (Job King) came in sixth in the T34 200m.
Bradley Wigley (Jane Coia) finished third in the T38 200m, while Rhys Jones (Antoine) also just missed out on the medals with a fourth place finish in the T37 200m but came away with a seasons best of 24.96.
You can watch a live stream of the IPC Athletics European Championships (19-23 August) on the IPC YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/ParalympicSportTV and the afternoon session will be live on More4 from 15.35.