7th April 2020


Rarely does an athlete get the chance to compete at a world championship in front of a home crowd, and very few get the unique experience of winning their first world title with the buoyant British support playing as the background soundtrack to the moment.

That’s exactly what Sophie Kamlish (coach: Rob Ellchuk; club: Bristol & West) received during the marvellous summer of 2017 on day four of the World Para Athletics Championships in London.

For Kamlish, she arrived in London as one of the favourites for a medal after placing fourth in the Paralympic Games T44 100m final in Rio in 2016. She ran a world record in the heats during the morning session but couldn’t replicate that in the final later in the day, narrowly missing out on a place on the podium.

Half of that scenario played out at the London Stadium on the 17 July 2017 as she blasted her way to a world record in the heats during the morning session, clocking 12.90 (+1.1 m/s) to lower the world record at the time, and head into the evening’s final as the clear favourite for gold.

Putting aside memories of Rio, Kamlish arrived at the track on the evening of her final with her coach, Rob Ellchuk, clearly focused on the task ahead.

The crowds poured into the London Stadium as they anticipated the evening’s action which would include several huge moments for the British team, including a ninth world title for Hannah Cockroft, another medal for Kare Adenegan and a bronze medal for Richard Whitehead.

With news that Kamlish had broken the world record during the morning session circulating around the PA system as the athletes were introduced, she was welcomed into the arena with a huge roar from the crowd.

After a false start from Femita Ayanbeku (USA) brought the field back on the first attempt, the athletes got away second time with Kamlish getting a fantastic start.

Much like the heats, Kamlish supremely moved away from the rest of the field, dominating the contest from start to finish, and beat Marlou van Rhijn (Ned), the reigning Paralympic and world champion, convincingly, to write her name in the history books.

12.92 was her time in the final, just 0.02 seconds outside the world record she had set only a matter of hours earlier.

Kamlish reflected afterwards: “It was definitely a case of being very worried about the same as Rio [setting a world record in her heat and then finishing fourth]; my brain kept taking me back there, but I relaxed and focused on myself. I was so shocked, the whole day I’ve been nervous, and I never feel that for races. Hopefully I can continue this now, I eased off in the heat so hopefully I can go quicker still.”

She avenged the memories of Rio and showed the world her quality and that she would be a force to be reckoned with in the years ahead. A proud moment indeed for Sophie Kamlish.