12th July 2023
KEYWORTH FOURTH & PEACOCK FIFTH AT WORLD PARA ATHLETICS CHAMPS
Kyle Keyworth (coach: Kes Salmon, club: Manchester Harriers) and the experienced Jonnie Peacock (Dan Pfaff / Benke Blomkvist, Charnwood) finished fourth and fifth respectively at the World Para Athletics Championships on day four.
Peacock, making his first World Championship appearance since that memorable gold in London six years ago, lined up against one of the most competitive T64 100m final fields ever assembled and battled to a valiant fifth-place finish, clocking 10.98 (-0.1) after a lengthy delay to get the race underway in Paris.
Keyworth meanwhile was the first of the British pair to take to the blocks on the night and was rewarded for persevering all the way himself in the men’s T35 200m final, posting his quickest time since June 2019 – 26.29 (1.1) – and a fourth-place finish on his very first World Championship appearance.
That leaves the British team still on ten medals – four gold, two silver and four bronze – after a blistering start to these World Championships in the French capital, which will host the Paralympic Games in just over a year, and Peacock couldn’t help but feel he should have taken the tally to 11.
He said: “I’m obviously disappointed with myself, especially considering the time. If someone had told me that was the time coming into these Championships I’d bite their hand off as I felt I was in really good shape coming in to this.
“I’ve run a lot faster than what I ran though this season already. Fair play to Manu, he’s running well. It’s not getting any easier, but it’s frustrating. The last two months is the first time in a long time that I felt like myself again.
“Coming into this Champs that started to go away a little bit, but then I had a really good session in the holding camp a week ago and I think if you’d told me a week ago that 10.71 would win it, I’d be like absolutely I’ll be able to run faster than that.”
There was plenty of tension at the start of the men’s T64 100m final as Italian Maxcel Amo Manu – who equalled Peacock’s European record of 10.64 in the heats – took his time to get ready and get comfortable, receiving a yellow card in the process.
The race then initially got underway however was called back by officials, although no athletes receive any further cards or warnings. Nearly ten minutes after coming out on the track, the race began again with no problems and Peacock got off to a typically good start.
Four were in a line through halfway, including Peacock, however Manu, Costa Rica’s Sherman Guity and Germany’s Felix Streng managed to pull away from him and Johannes Floors as the Brit finished fifth in 10.98.
Peacock was last seen on the biggest stage at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo in 2021 when he won bronze but has raced just ten times since then prior to arriving in Paris and he added: “I do believe that I’ve got a quick time in me this year.
“The only solace I can take is that this year for me was about finding myself again and I do feel like I’ve found myself, I do think I’m going to show that for the rest of the season. [It was] really poor execution in that final – I’m better than that.
“I’ve got no real excuses, I just obviously messed up. Being in lane eight didn’t help, but the guys just ran better races than me. There is no one I can blame at these Championships other than myself. All we can do is learn from it.”
Making his World Championship debut and appearing for the British team for just the second time after a maiden outing at the Europeans in 2018, Keyworth kept his composure as Ukrainian Ihor Tsvietov stormed around the bend in the men’s T35 200m final.
Coming out of the bend, Keyworth was in contention with Argentina’s Hernan Barreto and Brazil’s Fabio Bordignon for a place in the top three and battled to keep with the South American pair through the next 50m.
Barreto and Bordignon managed to pull away to secure silver and bronze respectively – gold comfortably going to Tsvietov – however Keyworth didn’t let up and was rewarded with his quickest time since June 2019, clocking 26.29 for fourth.
He said: “I feel really good. It was great to get the experience to run at this level. I literally gave everything I had, and it wasn’t enough, so congratulations to the medallists. When they said get on your marks, I did my normal routine and got in the blocks, I felt like I executed all that really well.
“I was in a good condition coming round the bend, it was just that last bit of the race where I faded out a bit. That’s something I need to work on going forwards. Every athlete wants to run at the top level, I’m no different – that was always the aim. So, to get this experience under my belt, it all helps. Onwards and upwards now.”
The Great Britain and Northern Ireland medallists:
GOLD:  Gavin Drysdale [Men’s T72 100m], Jonathan Broom-Edwards [Men’s T64 high jump], Sabrina Fortune [Women’s F20 shot put], Hollie Arnold [Women’s F46 javelin]
SILVER:  Rafi Solaiman [Men’s T72 100m], Sammi Kinghorn [Women’s T53 800m]
BRONZE:  Zac Shaw [Men’s T12 100m], Danny Sidbury [Men’s T54 5000m], Maria Lyle [Women’s T35 200m], Sophie Hahn [Women’s T38 100m]
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