12th November 2019


Vanessa Wallace (Alison O’Riordan; Enfield & Haringey) took her maiden World Para Athletics Championship medal with bronze in the F34 women’s shot put final during the morning session of day six.

There was a consistent series for Wallace whose best came in round five when she launched the shot put out to a mark of 7.66 metres, a lifetime best by 2cm. The European champion opened with a throw of 7.25 metres to settle any nerves, before throwing the career best which left her first after two competitors had thrown with seven to follow.

As the competition went on, China’s Lijuan Zou moved into the lead with a best of 8.76m while Morocco’s Saida Amoudi overtook the Briton into silver with 8.09. There was a nervous wait as the Londoner but she held onto bronze position after no others exceeded her mark of 7.66 metres.

Wallace, who added world bronze to the 2018 European gold: “I’m over the moon, oh my goodness it feels so good. We work really really hard, so it is good seeing it come through.

“I threw second, so it was tough because my biggest competitors were going after me, so I had to wait it out. But everyone was so encouraging out there. My heat strategies worked, and I did it!

On the PB throw, she added: “At last! That’s what I was thinking. I wanted further obviously but to get a PB at a world championship is great, I’ll take that. It’s amazing. That’s the only word I can use. I wanted to do my happy dance on the frame, but I hadn’t finished!”

Summarising her 2019 season, she said: “It’s been an interesting year and a really good year. It’s been interesting competing at this level in November, but it shows with the right preparation, anything can happen and it can go really well.”

Zak Skinner (Aston Moore; Loughborough Students) was involved in a red-hot condition in the men’s T13 long jump, leaping close to his PB for fifth in his second world final.

Skinner opened with a foul and a 5.93m, which left him in twelfth, outside the top eight who would gain three more jumps. However, a 6.52m jump moved him to fifth, and that was swiftly followed by his best leap of the competition, 6.86m, just 3cm shy of his career best. The gold medal was taken by Uzbekistan’s Bekjon Chevarov with a best of 7.23m, an area record.

Skinner said afterwards: “It is tough. I want to apologise to my mum first because she was probably on the edge of her seat for the first three rounds. We started off really rocky. The wind didn’t really blow so I just couldn’t execute.

I know coming into the third round I was sitting in 12th so I knew I needed to do something to get top eight. I’m proud of myself for getting out of a dark place. At the end of the day, I think I did the best I could do. 6.86m was near a PB but the boys today were on another level and I couldn’t get to that level.”

There was delight for Ola Abidogun (Grant Barker; Horwich), not only as he moved into the T47 100m final but did so in a personal best of 10.92 (+0.3).

The 2012 Paralympic silver medallist, who hasn’t competed in a British team since 2014, moved through the gears in the semi-final, pushing to the fastest time of his career. His fourth position saw him advance as a fastest non-automatic qualifier.

A delighted Abidogun said post-race: “It’s taken my seven years to get below 11 seconds and I’ve finally done it, yes! The run was good. I did stumble half way through as I think one of my competitors bumped into me, but I know I can go faster, I can feel it.

“I’ve got it rolling so I’m ready for the final this afternoon, I’m just happy. I came here for a PB so I’m delighted with that. I’ve had the best season for about seven years. I’m finally under 11 so I’m a 10 boy now. I just feel like I can get stronger from here.”

Defending 100m world champion Sophie Kamlish (Rob Ellchuk; Bristol & West) booked her place in tonight’s T64 final as one of the non-automatic qualifiers with a 13.26s (1.2) effort good enough for third place.

Despite a sluggish start from the 23-year-old, she made up ground in the closing stages of the race to ensure she has the opportunity to defend her title this evening.

Richard Chiassaro (Jenni Banks; Harlow) will also be back on track tonight as he cruised through into the final of the men’s T54 400m as an automatic qualifier.

The Harlow athlete made light work of progressing as he pushed with purpose to take second spot in 48.00s in his semi-final, cruising the last 20m as he comfortably made it through.

Nathan Maguire (Ste Hoskins; Kirkby) unfortunately could not join Chiassaro in the final as he came home seventh in the second semi-final in 48.73s.