20th July 2017

HERMITAGE A RECORD BREAKER ONCE AGAIN AS COCKROFT MAKES HISTORY

Racing for just the fifth time this year, Georgie Hermitage (coach: Paul MacGregor) broke her own world record as she retained her T37 400m title, while Hannah Cockroft (Jenni Banks) re-wrote the history books as she pushed to her third gold of these championships to become Britain’s most successful athlete at a World Para Athletics Championships with ten world titles.

With silver from Kyron Duke (Anthony Hughes) added to the bronze medals won by Kare Adenegan (Job King), Stephen Miller (Ros Miller), Isaac Towers (Peter Wyman) and Richard Chiassaro (Jenni Banks) this evening, the British medal tally now sits at 29, exceeding the minimum target of 26 set by UK Sport ahead of the championships.

Opting out of using starting blocks as she broke out of lane two, Hermitage immediately moved past the athletes in lanes three and four as the field entered the back straight.

Motoring well and looking smooth off the bends, the two-time Paralympic champion edged into the home straight in the lead, with the final 100m seeing her sprint away from the field for 1:00.29, a revision of her own T37 world record by 0.25 of a second

Hermitage said: “It means everything – it’s a huge relief, this year has been the toughest to date, so to come out and do that has been very overwhelming and unexpected.

“In February I picked up an injury, and what should have taken six weeks to heal became three months – it’s been a real slog to get here and at times I didn’t think I would be.

On being confident in her 400m strength after injury, she added: “I put in a time at an event a couple of weeks ago in the blistering heat, so we were all relieved and my coach said ‘that’s enough, we know it’s in the tank’.

“I wanted to seal the deal and get the gold tonight, there have been breakthrough athletes in my classification so I wanted to go out and put a marker down and show there’s life in the old dog.”

Taking to the start line for the third time this week, the T34 trio of Hannah Cockroft (Jenni Banks), Kare Adenegan (Job King) and Carly Tait (Banks) faced off in a field of five over 400m.

After resting up today having come down with a cold, Cockroft showed the untouchable cadence that has made her unbeatable in a championship environment to cross the line in 58.29, another championship record to add to her push over 100m for gold on last Friday’s opening evening.

With the USA’s Alexa Halko pushing brilliantly to take silver, Kare Adenegan swept home in 1:02.94 for bronze, her third medal of the championships to add to her growing tally of global accolades, while European silver medallist Tait claimed fourth in 1:07.89, her fourth quickest ever time over the distance.

Post-race Cockroft said: “Ten just feels like a number right now to be honest – you go out there and focus on the race rather than thinking about numbers. Ten world titles is a pretty good thing to get in front of a home crowd, the noise tonight was phenomenal.

“I’m not 100% at the moment: I’m full of a cold and have been in bed all day just trying to get enough energy to get through the race. I didn’t like being in lane seven as well, I felt a little bit out of my comfort zone so I just had to get my head down and focus on what I had to do. It’s been a tough day, and it’s been a tough championships – I have Alexa and Kare chasing me down now.”

“I’m so happy with that race – Alex and Hannah went sub-60 and that’s something I haven’t done yet, so I’m really pleased with where I came; it’s exactly where I thought I’d be,” said Adenegan of her silver.

“It feels amazing and it’s a huge dream come true; I watched the 2012 Paralympic Games, and here I am on the same track picking up medals.”

“It’s been a tough five years competing, and it’s been a long year with exams and training, but I’ve worked so hard so I’m really pleased.”

Following a whirlwind week in which he has raced eight times in numerous heats and finals, Richard Chiassaro’s (Jenni Banks) moment in the spotlight finally came as he pushed to a brilliant bronze in the T54 400m final.

Having come close to the podium with fourth in the 200m final, Chiassaro, competing in what he describes as his favourite event, pushed a great opening 300m to come off the bend in contention.

As the field gained on the finish line, and with Tunisian Gharbi pushing ahead for gold in a championship record, Chiassaro showed all his grit to edge ahead of Marcel Hug for bronze in the tightest of finishes – so much so that he was unaware he had claimed bronze.

On his first global medal, the Harlow athlete said: “I’ve had a bit of an up and down week and I think a lot of people were rooting for me to do well. I didn’t know I’d medalled there today until the crowd were cheering.  What was really great was that my family were here to see it. My girlfriend and my six year-old son have been here every day and today he was standing up and cheering me. That was great.

“I didn’t know how close it was. I think they said there was a tenth of a second between me and silver, and to beat Marcel (Hug) who is such a great pusher and so consistent; it’s incredible.”

Clocking up an incredible seventh appearance at a World Para Athletics Championships, F32 club throw specialist Stephen Miller, given a huge roar by the London Stadium upon being announced in the field, opened up with a handy 29.18m.

Throwing third in the nine-strong field, he improved his best to 29.25m with throw two to sit in bronze at the end of each athletes’ series.

Miller’s second series yielded an immediate improvement of 29.32cm, enough to solidify his hold on bronze as 28.87m and 28.78m following with his fifth and sixth throws, leaving him to spectate and see whether any of the six athletes left to throw could better his best.

Fortunately for the Gateshead athlete this was to be the case, with fourth finisher Al Mashaykhi of Oman only able to muster a best of 28.58m, 90cm down on Miller, now a world championship medallist in addition to his six Paralympic Games medals.

Post-competition Miller said: “I experienced disappointment in this stadium in 2012 when I didn’t even get in the top eight when I was team captain. I always said I wanted to come back to this stadium and prove that wasn’t me. A lot has happened in the last five years, one of them being getting a new hip!

“I’ve worked really hard to get back to this point, and now I have won medals at back-to-back championships. I am a very stubborn person, and I don’t know when I’m beat. I have a great support team back home, especially my mam and my wife. We keep working hard to get better every year and throw further. That’s the secret; don’t complicate it too much. I still have that motivation to get out there and compete; I love the sport and why wouldn’t you on days like today.”

After an impressive lifetime best as he sailed through his heat yesterday evening, Rhys Jones (Christian Malcolm) called lane six his home for the T37 100m final this evening.

With last night’s 11.69 personal best fresh in his legs, last year’s Paralympic Games finalist got out well. Running in between Du Tiot and Zahrebelnyi – who would go on to win silver and bronze respectively – Jones looked well in contention for the minor medals until the 60m stage, at which point the aforementioned pair continued their climb to top speed with the Welshman beginning to flag.

With Egypt’s Mohamed finishing quickly on his right to nick, Jones would settle for fifth place in 11.88, his highest ever finish at a global championships’ in the discipline having claimed sixth in Rio, eighth in Doha and seventh in Lyon.

“The championships is one I’ll have no regrets on,” said Jones

“Obviously I would have loved to have won a medal at a home games, but just coming out here to experience – London was superb five years ago, but this has been on a par – has been special and I wouldn’t change a thing about anything.”

“I got out well – my starts have been going great, but unfortunately I missed three months’ worth of training at the beginning of the year, so to be here and qualify second fastest with a lifetime best; you can’t ask for too much more. It is frightening to think what could have happened had I not got injured for those three months, but I’m here, I’m happy and a healthy.”

A world bronze shot put medallist back in 2013, Kyron Duke got his series off to the best possible start with a throw of 12.28m in the F41 shot put, a season’s best. The throw would turn out to best of his six, with 11.95m in round two his next best offering as Chinese representatives Xia and Sun looked to gain ground on the Welshman.

As it were, and with German Niko Kappel way out in front having thrown a world record of 13.81m for gold, Duke’s first round mark would be enough to see him claim the second step on the podium, an achievement he delighted in afterwards.

“It was amazing – I can’t ask for anything better,” said Duke.

“I had an injury at the start of the year so I have just concentrated on the one event this year and it has paid off. My first throw was my best throw and the rest of my series was ok. I missed out on the medals in Rio last year so it feels really good to win a world medal, so I am delighted with the silver.”

The T34 800m, featuring Ben Rowlings (Job King) and Isaac Towers, saw a frantic finish in which several late surges down the outside snatch medals who had led the race for so long, one of who was Coventry’s Rowlings, with Towers going well and sneaking through the marginal gaps to take bronze, a memorable first global medal on home soil.

Rowlings had pushed the opening 600m in strong and asserting fashion, fending off the field and claiming the position at the front of the pack as his own. At the bell, and as to be expected, the pace gathered, with Rowlings still in a great position, only for the final bend to offer the overtake opportunity many had hung on for.

With many of the field going wide, including Towers, Rowlings momentarily lost rhythm, something which was enough for a handful of the field to push on by to scoop the medals, one of whom was compatriot Towers of Blackpool, Wyre & Fylde in a time of 1:46.46, with Rowlings posting 1:47.47 for sixth.

On his first global medal and the race, Towers reflected: “I got myself a little bit boxed in the first lap and got myself a little bit worried but as the race broke up and the pack broke up I was able to get in there and get in a good position.

“There were a few of the quick guys – well, the two that won silver and gold – they were coming round on my outside and  I was lucky to get a bit of a lift with them and ended up in the right place at the right time in the end.”

Reflecting on the race, Rowlings commented: “95% of that race was perfect.  I put myself into the best position that I possibly could on that last lap and even coming into the final 100m. I just don’t know what happened.

“Training has been going well so I just don’t know. On the day the guys that came past were just a bit stronger.  It’s heart-breaking to be 40m away from winning a world championships. It’s going to be hard to get over but I’m just going to go away and come back stronger.”

After a significant lifetime best of 22.73 to take the tape in his heat yesterday, Zac Shaw (Joe McDonnell) lined up in the first of three semi-finals for the T12 200m.

Going out hard as he did in his heat, Shaw came off the bend contesting second place with South Africa’s Ntutu, with a combination of form-holding and a dip for the line seeing him finish in 22.93 for second behind victor Djamil Nasser. With heat three considerably quicker than one and two, unfortunately the time would see him miss out on the single fastest non-automatic qualifier spot.

Shaw said: “I knew it was going to be tough. Yesterday I went a lifetime best, so to take your body to limits that it’s never been before, coming back the next day can be tricky.

“If I haven’t made the final it’s been one of the best experiences of my life in front of this home crowd.  If I do make the final then obviously anything can happen.

“After not doing as I wanted to do in the 100m, coming out here and doing what I’ve done in the 200m is a big learning curve for me. So I’m happy either way.”

 

British Athletics medallists (29) at the World Para Athletics Championships London 2017:

Gold (13):

Hollie Arnold – F46 Javelin

Olivia Breen – T38 Long Jump

Hannah Cockroft – T34 100m, 400m, 800m

Aled Davies – F42 Discus

Sophie Hahn – T38 200m

Georgie Hermitage – T37 400m

Sophie Kamlish – T44 100m

Sammi Kinghorn – T53 200m

Jonnie Peacock – T44 100m

Stef Reid – T44 Long Jump

Richard Whitehead – T42 200m

Silver (3):

Kare Adenegan – T34 100m

Kyron Duke – F41 Shot

Toby Gold – T33 100m

Bronze (13):

Kare Adenegan – T34 400m, 800m

Richard Chiassaro – T54 400m

Kadeena Cox – T38 200m

David Henson – T42 200m

Sammi Kinghorn – T53 400m

Maria Lyle – T35 100, 200m

Stephen Miller – F32 Club Throw

Gemma Prescott – F32 Club Throw

Andrew Small – T33 100m

Isaac Towers – T34 800m

Richard Whitehead – T42 100m

 

The timetable for the World Para Athletics Championships can be found here.

#Represent