20 March 2017
Day one of the World Para Athletics Grand Prix was affected by windy conditions but there were race victories for Paralympic medallists Paul Blake (coach: Rob Ellchuk), Sophie Hahn (Joe McDonnell) and Maria Lyle (Ryan Freckleton) over 200m.
Hahn, T38 100m gold medallist in Rio, would have clocked a personal best of 26.57 (+2.2) on her way to 200m victory had it not been for an illegal tailwind, however, it was a strong start to the competition for the reigning world champion over 100m. The race also featured Kadeena Cox (Brian Scobie), Paralympic gold medallist in the T38 400m last year, who started her campaign with a time of 28.27 (+2.2) for third. T44 athlete Laura Sugar, competing in the same mixed race stopped the clock at 28.42 in her first 200m since setting a PB in the Estadio Olimpico last September.
T36 400m Paralympic gold medallist Blake ran his fastest 200m since 2012 with a time of 25.73 (+1.3) at the new track in Dubai. Jordan Howe put down a marker by running a personal best in the 200m (T35) with 27.31 (+1.3), shaving 0.08 seconds off his previous best set in 2014.
Triple Paralympic medallist Lyle (Ryan Freckleton) won her 200m in 29.39 (+2.3) with fellow Rio medallist Andrew Small (Rick Hoskins) runner up in the T33 200m with a significant personal best of 31.76 (+1.6), taking just under two seconds off his previous best. Small then returned for the a rare appearance over 800m, clocking 2:18.70. In the same combined T33/34/53 race, T34 athlete Nathaniel Williams (Rick Hoskins) pushed to 2:03.70, whilst Jamie Edwards (Jenny Archer) recorded 2:19.40.
Club throw legend Stephen Miller (Ros Miller) had a mixed series in the F32 club throw, with the six-time Paralympic medallist throwing a best of 28.82m in round three to secure second position in his opening competition of the season.
Out in the field, Holly Neill (Andrew Roda) threw a best of 21.94m in the F41 discus with Mike Barker (Malcolm Wallace) launching the shot put to 7.96m in the F55 class. Enfield & Haringey’s Lorn Mayers (Alison O’Riordan) was competing in the F42 shot put with a best of 11.92m coming with his third attempt, which was also a season’s best.
Back on the track, there was a welcome return to action for Shaun Burrows (McDonnell) who has been out for over a year with injury. A World Bronze medallist in 2015, Burrows returned to the track for the first time since those championships in Doha to run a time of 23.51 (+2.4) over 200m.
Zac Shaw (McDonnell) was the fastest in the T12 200m over two time trial races, with his time of 22.93 (+2.6) earning him the win. In the T11 200m, Liverpool’s Dan Powell (McDonnell) crossed the line in 25.20 (+2.5). T46 athlete James Arnott (Freckleton) won in 23.31 (+2.0) with T47 athlete Morgan Jones (Christian Malcolm) third in the same race in 24.13. Youngster Luke Nuttall (Vince Wilson/Alison Wyeth) was narrowly outside his lifetime best in the T46 800m, finishing in a time of 2:08.80 in his first ever race outside the UK.
In the T34 200m time trial events, City of Portsmouth's Craig Boardman (Paul Smith) came out on top with a big lifetime best of 27.84 (+2.4), with Nathaniel Williams third in 31.83 (+2.4) and Jamie Edwards fifth overall in 32.87 (+2.4).
Full results can be found on the Team Thomas website: http://www.team-thomas.org/