22nd August 2018
ADENEGAN AND WALLACE SEAL MEMORABLE FIRST EUROPEAN TITLES
With over a third of the British team in action on the third night in Berlin, Kare Adenegan (club: Coventry, coach: Job King) produced arguable one of the performances of the day as she claimed her first major international title in style in the women’s T34 100m final, while Vanessa Wallace (Enfield & Haringey, Alison O’Riordan) sealed her first ever major title in the F34 shot put.
It was another bumper night for the British team who reaped the rewards across several disciplines; silver medals for Hannah Cockroft (T34 100m) and Ross Paterson (T38 400m), bronze medals for Dillon Labrooy (T54 400m), Laura Sugar (T44/64 200m), Mo Jomni (T53 400m), all adding to Stephen Miller’s F32 club throw silver from the morning session.
Adenegan, who just last month set a world record in the event, got off to a fantastic start to take the lead and would not be overhauled as she claimed the European title in a Championship record 17.38 (+0.6) with teammate Cockroft second in 17.95.
The 17-year-old said after: “It is very crazy. It is such a dream. I can’t believe I have got a gold medal. It was so tough [following her world record last month]. The first week after it I was just so excited, I couldn’t contain that excitement, I was so happy. I just had to remind myself that the Europeans is where it is at and it is about getting medals at championships.”
In relation to how she has composed herself after the world record performance at the Muller Anniversary Games last month, she added:
“I had to ground myself and I am just so happy that I have been able to deliver a great performance. It hasn’t just happened. It has been so many years and I am so thankful to everybody who has helped me to progress gradually and actually get to this moment. I am so, so pleased, I just want to keep going and stay consistent.
“I told myself on the line, this is for mum, this is for dad, this is for Job [King, coach]. They have sacrificed so much time and I am so thankful for them. It has been a long journey and so pleased that I can finally do it.”
Silver-medallist Cockroft (Leeds City, Jenni Banks) commented: “I have known that Kare has been pushing really well all season and I made it very clear at the start of the season that I was going to go away and focus on other things. I have got myself a job, that is what I wanted to do. Maybe it was the wrong thing to do, you come here and think ‘have I lost something’ but I am 26 and I have to think about the future.
“Wheelchair racing wise, Britain’s future is sealed with Kare. I know that I am safe, I know that I have come back stronger next year. But big up Kare, it was a fantastic race and it is going to be a new experience for me sitting on that second step.”
Earlier in the session, with each athlete taking their six attempts in succession in the women’s F34 shot put final, Wallace had the benefit of being the fifth and final athlete to enter the stage knowing exactly what she needed to do to top the podium and claim her first major international title.
Her first effort of 6.91m put her just 2cm shy of gold and her second of 7.14m pushed her to top spot. Wallace improved by 1cm with her next throw before producing a season’s best 7.45m with her fourth attempt that would prove to be her winning distance after 6.88m and 7.32m thereafter.
A delighted Wallace added afterwards: “I don’t even know what words can sum this up. It is amazing, that is the best way to put it. I was here two years ago at my first Europeans and I came fourth. To come back stronger, a lot more experienced and, yeah, I did my thing. I trusted the process and just did the best I could.”
After her last three experiences at major championships, Wallace has learned from them, and paid special tribute to her coach:
“I’ve learnt to relax and focus on my little zone and tell myself you do know what to do. I don’t get distracted by the other competitors, what they are doing, what they are throwing, I just do me because that’s what’s got me here.
“My coach [Alison O’Riordan] has been amazing coach. She has been everything that a coach is supposed to be. A support network, encouraging, putting you in and out of your comfort zone and more importantly giving you trust in yourself. Your coach will do as much as they can, but you have got to pick that up and run or throw or jump with it. She has changed my life.”
With three entered in the men’s T38 400m final, only gold and silver were on offer, but Paterson (Red Star, John Kinder) delivered on his major championship debut with a solid run of 56.82 ensuring he reached the podium in second.
Paterson said: “It is unbelievable. Even just being here is brilliant so I am glad that I went out and put in a performance. I will come back next year even stronger. I knew what it would be like. It was a great race and hopefully I can come back stronger.”
There were second bronze medals of the championships for Laura Sugar (Birchfield, Joe McDonnell) and Mo Jomni (Weir Archer Academy, Jenny Archer) in the T44/64 200m and T53 400m respectively.
Sugar bagged a bronze in the 100m on the first day of action and performed magnificently to match that feat in the second sprint event, won once more by the Netherlands Marlene van Gansewinkel.
The Welsh athlete – who recorded a time of 28.03 (+1.1) – said afterwards: “It is a big season’s best and only a tenth off my PB so I am a lot happier than the 100m even though it is the same result. I knew it was tough competition and it got me a good time so I am happy.”
Stef Reid (Charnwood, Aston Moore) also competed in the 200m event ahead of her long jump on Sunday, placing fourth in a time of 29.49.
Elsewhere, Jomni matched his achievement in the 200m the previous evening, placing behind the French duo of Pierre Fairbank & Nicholas Brignone, clocking 53.03.
He said: “I am happy with that. I will take that. I am happier with the performance. It was a better start I think. I didn’t feel any lactic because I have been training for this and hitting the wall, it has been part of my recovery. I am actually really, really happy and delighted that I got a bronze. I know the 400m is always going to be my race. it was a high-speed chase. The French guys got lucky this year and I will get them next time, don’t worry about that.
On his British team debut on the track, Callum Hall was sixth in a time of 56.71, and returns for his preferred 800m on Thursday.
After a long wait, Dillon Labrooy (Weir Archer Academy, Jenny Archer) was upgraded to bronze in the T54 400m after the disqualification of teammate Nathan Maguire (Halton & Frosham, Ste Hoskins) who crossed the line in silver medal position. A lane infringement by Maguire saw him demoted with his compatriot moving onto the podium.
It was a first international medal for Labrooy, who finished fifth at the Commonwealth Games earlier this year. The Weir Archer Academy athlete finished in a time of 51.15 and said afterwards:
“I feel pretty good. I felt I could have done better at the start, it wasn’t what I was practicing earlier today. The start was slow but I am happy. It is my first race here so hopefully I can get continue to get better results throughout the week.”
On a highly-competitive evening, Jordan Howe (DSW Para Academy; Christian Malcolm) got off to a great start in the men’s T35 100m final but was just beaten to gold in the final metres by Ihor Tsvietov of Ukraine. Howe had pushed his opponent close at last year’s World Championships, settling for silver by 0.14, with the margin this time 0.11 as the Brit clocked 12.88 (-0.2) and with only two in the final, gold was the sole medal on offer.
Sally Brown (Charnwood; Joe McDonnell), earning her first British vest since the London 2012 Paralympic Games, tried valiantly to reel in Angelina Lanza of France in the women’s T47 400m final and was well positioned heading into the home straight. Lanza held on though as Brown settled for second in a two-woman final – a non-medal event – in a season’s best of 1:04.25, much to the Northern Irish athlete’s delight.
James Arnott (City of Plymouth; Ryan Freckleton) was the first track finalist of the evening in the men’s T47 100m and the fight for a medal couldn’t have been closer between him and German home hope Phil Grolla. The pair were neck and neck at the line with a photo finish revealing an agonising fourth for Arnott in 11.37 (+0.5), 0.01 shy of bronze.
In a highly competitive T34 100m final, Ben Rowlings (Coventry, Ian Mirfin) and Shaun White (Sutton & District, Christine Parsloe) placed fourth and fifth respectively. Rowlings, who has a hat-trick of events this week, crossed the line in 17.00 (+0.9) to White’s 19.01.
There was a second personal best of the week for Ali Smith (Guildford & Godalming, Paul MacGregor) in the T38 long jump. Having only taken the event up two months ago, the debutant has undergone a crash course in learning her technique over the last few weeks, and it paid off in the German capital. Although disappointed to finish just outside the medals in fourth place, her PB mark of 4.34m (+0.7) will give her a lot of confidence with the 100m and 200m to come.
Rhys Jones (DSW Para Academy; Christian Malcolm) was equally well positioned at the halfway stage of the men’s T37 200m final but was overtaken in the final stages as he placed narrowly outside the medals in fourth in 24.88, just 0.06 shy of the podium.
British Athletics Medallists: (21)
Kare Adenegan – T34 100m
Hollie Arnold – F46 Javelin
Sabrina Fortune – F20 Shot put
Harri Jenkins – T33 100m
Maria Lyle – T35 100m
Vanessa Wallace – F34 Shot put
Richard Whitehead – T61 200m
Hannah Cockroft – T34 100m
David Devine – T13 1500m
Stephen Miller – F32 Club Throw
Luke Nuttall – T46 1500m
Ross Paterson – T38 400m
Zak Skinner – T13 Long Jump
Ali Smith – T38 400m
Mo Jomni – T53 200m & 400m
Dillon Labrooy – T54 400m
Nathan Maguire – T54 200m
Stephen Osborne – T51 100m
Laura Sugar – T44/64 100m & 200m