4th June 2021
BREEN AND CHURCH AMONG THE MEDALS AT THE EUROPEAN PARA ATHLETICS CHAMPIONSHIPS
Lydia Church [Women’s F12 Shot Put] sealed silver and Olivia Breen [Women’s T38 Long Jump] clinched bronze on a successful morning for the British team at the 2021 European Para Athletics Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland.
Kicking off the day four programme for the British contingent, Lydia Church (Jim Edwards; Peterborough and Nene Valley) won her first European medal as she took the silver medal with the second furthest throw of her career, a mark of 12.34m.
The Peterborough & Nene Valley athlete sat in second position after the second throw – a mark measured at 11.93m – putting her in contention for her maiden major medal. She slightly improved on her fourth effort as she added five centimetres to her distance.
Assured of the silver medal going into her final visit to the shot-put circle, Church launched the impressive mark which was second only to her PB of 12.62m set in Coventry earlier this year. Russia’s Nadezhda Burkova won the gold medal with a Championship record of 13.06m.
Church commented afterwards, “It’s my first medal for GB at my first Europeans so you can’t ask for more than that. All I was thinking on that last throw was ‘let’s go for it, let’s smash it’. And that’s what happened.
“I was just trying to keep it nice and relaxed and focus on the process of it. I knew I had the technique to do it, so I’m pleased I could produce a nice consistent series today.
“I’ve been working on building my strength and working on a new technique over the last few months. It is nice to know after putting all that work in, I have come out with a medal.”
Olivia Breen (Aston Moore; City of Portsmouth) won her first women’s T38 long jump European medal, which was consolidated with a season best of 4.94m (0.4) on her final jump.
She opened the competition with a solid jump of 4.61m (0.4) which moved her into bronze medal position in the early stages. The competition progressed and despite a three no jumps, she improved to 4.65m on her fourth attempt. However, on her last effort she already knew that the bronze medal was coming her way regardless of the outcome, and she produced the best of her series.
Breen said, “I had three no jumps in that competition but on that last one, I knew I had to go for it and I’m really happy I ended up on 4.94m. It is another season best, so we are going in the right direction. It is great to be here and use this as preparation for Tokyo. It is nice to add another medal to my tally.
“I wasn’t going to end my competition on 4.65m. I knew I was better than that and I had so much more in me. My coach was just telling me to execute it and hit the board. I’m so happy I could finish it with a 4.94m.”
“It has been a strange build-up to this championship with covid and the restrictions but I’m just really grateful to be here and have these championships. It’s all been a good learning experience on knowing what it is like at the moment and understanding what it will be like in Tokyo. I’m just really grateful to be competing for Great Britain again.”
Following a dramatic final round in the long jump to win bronze on Wednesday, Polly Maton (Colin Baross; Team Devizes) was back in action in the T47 100m heats.
She finished fifth in heat one in a time of 13.31 (-0.3), with the first three automatically qualifying for the final. After a wait for the result from heat two, the results showed she had progressed to a second final of the week in one of the fastest qualifier positions, so she will return to the track at 17:08 on Saturday.
In the final event of the morning session, the British team in the 4x100m Universal Relay progressed to this evening’s final (19:25 BST) after a series of clean changeovers saw them finish clear second behind Russia in their heat.
The quartet of Zac Shaw (Leon Baptiste; Cleethorpes) [T12], Sophie Kamlish (Rob Ellchuk; Bristol & West) [T64], Sophie Hahn (Leon Baptiste; Charnwood) [T38] and Nathan Maguire (Ste Hoskins; Kirkby) [T54] clocked a time of 48.21.
Results can be found at https://www.paralympic.org/bydgoszcz-2021/results
The event is live streamed on the Channel 4 Para Sport website: https://paralympics.channel4.com
British medallists (21):
Gold (6): Fabienne André [Women’s T34 100m], Columba Blango [Men’s T20 400m], Sophie Hahn [Women’s T38 100m], Maria Lyle [Women’s T35 200m], Zak Skinner [Men’s T13 100m], Thomas Young [Men’s T38 100m]
Silver (7): John Bridge [Men’s T47 400m], Jonathan Broom-Edwards [Men’s T42/44/62/64 High Jump], Shaun Burrows [Men’s T38 400m], Lydia Church [Women’s F12 Shot Put], Kyron Duke [Men’s F41 Shot Put], Danny Sidbury [Men’s T54 1500m], Vanessa Wallace [Women’s F34 Shot Put]
Bronze (8): Ola Abidogun [Men’s T47 100m], Olivia Breen [Women’s T38 Long Jump], Nathan Maguire [Men’s T54 400m], Polly Maton [T47 Long Jump], Luke Nuttall [Men’s T46 1500m], Luke Sinnott [Men’s T63 Long Jump], Emily Stewart [Women’s F38 Discus], Alexander Thomson [Men’s T38 400m]