25th August 2018
COCKROFT, HAHN & YOUNG STORM TO GOLD IN BERLIN AS BALLARD RETIRES WITH BRONZE
Hannah Cockroft (club: Halifax; coach: Jenni Banks), Sophie Hahn (Charnwood; Joe McDonnell) and 18-year-old Thomas Young (Charnwood; McDonnell) all delivered gold on a memorable afternoon for the British team at the WPA European Championships in Berlin, which saw Graeme Ballard (Wigan & District; Trevor Painter) bring the curtain down on his glittering career with bronze and push the team’s overall medal tally to 45 after eight were captured on the penultimate day.
Cockroft won her 18th major international title in the women’s T34 800m final, Hahn added a second gold of the Championships in the women’s T38 100m while Young produced a stunning run to capture the men’s T38 200m crown on his debut, and Ballard rounded off 14 years of international competition with bronze in the men’s T36 200m.
Kare Adenegan (Coventry; Job King) claimed silver behind Cockroft, and Olivia Breen (City of Portsmouth; Aston Moore) picked up bronze behind Hahn, Nathan Maguire (Halton & Frodsham; Ste Hoskins) and Mo Jomni (Weir Archer Academy; Jenny Archer) followed suit in the T54 and T53 100m finals respectively, both claiming bronze themselves to take their individual medal totals to three each in Berlin.
The British team delivered highlight after highlight on the penultimate day, with Cockroft and Adenegan producing a thrilling duel in the three-woman T34 800m final. Pushing out well ahead of Joyce Lefevre of Belgium, it came down to a sprint finish between the two Brits.
Cockroft held the stronger position entering the final bend with Adenegan, European champion over 100m from earlier in the week, doing absolutely everything to push past her teammate. Cockroft would take the win in a Championship record 2:14.21 with Adenegan 0.17 seconds behind for silver.
Gold was the 18th major international title of Cockroft’s glittering career and she said: “My old coach used to tell me that everyone remembers medals, and no one remembers times so that is all you have got to think about.
“I knew I had to go in from the start and put in a quick start because I know that is Kare’s strength and I just had to play it from there really. I have worked really hard on my 800m, especially my tactics, it was nice to be in control out there and to feel comfortable all of the way around.”
Adenegan has enjoyed a fine season with a world record in the 100m preceding her victory over the distance in Berlin, and after capturing silver she said: “I have had a really long week, but I am happy because it was close, it was very close. I didn’t have a lot left at the end and when I look back now, maybe I could have done it.
“Hannah raced really well, and I am pleased with how I raced, my tactics are getting better. The 100m and 800m are different. You wouldn’t expect Usain Bolt to go and do an 800m. The tactics are different, and the training is different. It has been fun training for all of them. The 100m was my main event but I do enjoy the 800m and I just need to get more experience in it.”
Hahn lined up for the women’s T38 100m final having completed a career grand slam with victory in the 200m on Thursday and she produced a repeat performance, powering her way to another title in another Championship record.
After clocking 12.52 (1.7m/s) for victory by 0.69, Hahn returned to the track to join forces with Zachary Shaw (Cleethorpes; McDonnell), Laura Sugar (Birchfield Harriers; McDonnell) and Dillon Labrooy (Weir Archer Academy; Archer) to help the British team to the universal 4x100m relay final with victory in 49.59.
On her afternoon’s work, she said: “I came here to defend my title, but I knew it would be hard because you have got the Hungarian girl, the Germans.
“I just wanted to win the race and I am so happy I defended my title. For me I love training and working hard. I work so hard on the track and in the gym. I want to keep getting better and keep retaining titles. The relay was exciting. It was quite hard because we have only had one practice, but it was great fun, I really enjoyed it and I can’t wait to repeat it again.”
Hahn was joined in the final by two British teammates with fellow world and Commonwealth champion Breen putting her troubles with a knee injury, that forced her out of the long jump, to one side to claim a fantastic bronze in a season’s best 13.30 (1.7m/s). Ali Smith (Guildford & Godalming, Paul MacGregor), competing in her fourth event in Berlin, which included 400m silver, placed fifth in a personal best 13.55 (1.7m/s).
As well as long jump gold, Breen won bronze in the 100m at the Commonwealth Games in April and on her latest medal success she said: “I have been here for ten days I was saying to myself ‘come on, let’s go’ so I am so happy to finish on a high and get a medal.
“I thought it was best to be safe [doing the 100m and not the long jump] and think about the future. My knee is important for the long jump. It has been a bit up and down, but I am so happy to finish on a high.”
Moments later Young produced arguably one of the best British performances of the Championships so far as he stormed to gold in the men’s T38 200m final. The 18-year-old, making his senior international debut in Berlin, flew out of the blocks and, despite being challenged by Mykyta Senyk of Ukraine, after the bend he powered down the home straight to impressively take gold in a personal best of 23.70 (0.3m/s)
Young said: “I am over the moon, it is a fantastic achievement. I am speechless really. It was really hard. It wasn’t easy, I knew the guy to the left of me was coming and I had to keep going. At 30m to go I was going as fast as I ever have, and I am just over the moon.
“There are no words, I am just so happy. I just kept at it and I have achieved what I wanted to achieve. Tokyo 2020 in two years is the main one, there is a World Championships next year, but Tokyo 2020 would be amazing to go to.”
While Young was the only British medallist in the men’s T38 200m final, it was a memorable final for his teammates and fellow senior international debutants Ross Paterson (Red Star, John Kinder) and Kyle Keyworth (Sale Harriers Manchester, Kes Salmon) as both set personal bests. Paterson, bronze medallist in the 400m, clocked 24.96 (0.3m/s) for fourth while Keyworth crossed the line in 26.74 (0.3m/s).
On an eventful penultimate afternoon in Berlin, Ballard brought the curtain down on his glittering career with bronze in the T36 200m final. Champion over 100m, Ballard got off to his trademark fast start and powered down the home straight brilliantly to round off a career which kick started with 200m bronze at the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games with a fitting podium finish in a season’s best 25.58.
Teammate Javaughn Parkes (Birchfield Harriers, Lincoln Asquith) joined him in the final, placing fifth in 26.41, and Ballard said: “That was about the best I could have done on the day. To come away with two medals in your last ever games is pretty darn good. This is my last event. I had mixed emotions, but I still had a job to do. At the end of the day I came up against people better and you have to say hats off to them.
“I am going to do a bit of coaching, I don’t know what else yet. I have got to go for an eye operation, so I can’t plan too far ahead. Sometimes I know I have been a pain in the rear end, but it has all been worth it. It has been a long and successful career, but the world record I set in Manchester [in 2012] has got to be up there.”
After Hahn and Young’s gold rush, wheelchair racer Maguire followed up with an impressive bronze in the men’s T54 100m final. Fighting back superbly after a slow start, Maguire pushed himself into third place in 15.14 (1.6m/s) for his third bronze medal of the Championships after successes in the 200m and 800m.
He said: “It feels good. It wasn’t even a very good race for me. The time was 0.3 slower than yesterday but because it was raining I had to use my wet gloves and those gloves are very different to my dry gloves. I underestimated what the rain was going to do so I should have used my other gloves, but I got a bronze and I am happy with that.
“The start was OK. In the wet everyone struggles. My best bit was probably the last 20m that was when I picked up massively. I was happy with the pickup, it was a big fight at the end and luckily, I just pipped it. It was really, really close.”
In almost a carbon copy to Maguire, Jomni impressively added a third bronze medal from the Championships in the T53 100m final. Faced with wet and windy conditions like his teammates, Jomni battled back from fourth after 60m to clinch bronze at the line in 17.05 (0.3m/s).
He said: “It was tough. My gloves are all wet, but I stuck to my plan and it got me a bronze. I can’t complain with that. It was a tense race. I trusted my power and I got the job done. I am finished now but that is the worst conditions so far in my career with the wind and a slow track.
“I managed, I can’t complain. I got GB another bronze and a hat-trick for me. I have been working on my starts for a while and to do it in the rain where your hands are slipping is good. I am glad it shows that I can have a good finish, that is a positive thing for me.”
Steve Morris (Cardiff; James Thie) finished an agonising fourth for the second day in a row in Berlin, just shy of the podium in the men’s T20 1500m final 24 hours after just missing out on the podium in the 800m. Morris was well placed throughout the race but couldn’t keep with the pace over the last 200m and placed fourth in 4:01.21.
Sally Brown (Charnwood; McDonnell) was also narrowly shy in her own pursuit of an individual medal as she rounded off her campaign in the women’s T47 200m final. After a season’s best for second out of two in the 400m and fifth in the 100m, Brown placed fourth in the 200m in 27.93 (1.7m/s) and was satisfied with her first campaign in a British vest since the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
Full results: https://www.paralympic.org/berlin-2018