2nd August 2019
MEDAL RUSH FOR THE BRITISH TEAM AT THE WORLD PARA ATHLETICS JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS
It was a golden afternoon for the British team at the World Para Athletics Junior Championships as Zien Zhou (coach: Job King; club: Coventry Godiva) and Barney Corrall (Chris Sinclair; Charnwood) sealed their first titles, and Matt Cooper (Jenny Archer; Weir Archer Academy) and Kirsty Taylor (Morgan Jones; DSW Para Academy) won silver medals.
Zien Zhou (Job King; Coventry Godiva) [T34] sealed the first gold medal of the championships for the British team in the T33-34 100m, pushing to a huge personal best of 16.83 (+0.5), pipping compatriot Matt Cooper (Jenny Archer; Weir Archer Academy) [T34] to the line. He showed his strength in the closing stages of the race to claim his first global junior honour.
Zhou – who trains at Coventry Godiva alongside world record holder Kare Adenegan – said afterwards:
“I got off to a great start and managed to hold my form. My coach and I have been working a lot on the start, so it was good to execute it well. I had a few technical problems half way through, but I managed to keep to the plan and get the win.
“Massive congratulations to Matt, he pushed really well. It’s really refreshing to see GB get a one-two in this event today.”
He added: “Onwards and upwards to the next race tomorrow. I’m a lot more comfortable over the longer distances so I’m excited to have the chance to race again.”
Cooper got out well, pushing to another sub 17 time of 16.97, and claiming his first silver medal at international level.
Cooper said post-race: ““It’s amazing to be part of this great team, it is such an honour to represent your country.”
“My start wasn’t as good as I thought it would be, but that is how it goes with the 100m sometimes. But Zien (Zhou) did really well and I’m glad we manged to get the one-two.”
In the same race, Ben Callander (Peter Wyman; Kirkby AC) [T34] started his campaign with a sixth-place finish in a time of a 19.63.
There was more gold-tinted joy for the British team, this time in the field, where Barney Corrall (Chris Sinclair; Charnwood) [T38] was victorious in the mixed classification T35-38 long jump. After a personal best jump of 5.36m in the competition, he won on Raza points, to gain his moment on the podium.
He jumped his best effort in round two after a foul in round one. Marks of 5.11m and 5.13m were added to his scorecard, but the 5.36m leap earned the second gold medal of the night for Great Britain & Northern Ireland.
Corrall commented after hearing the news of his gold medal: “It feels amazing – to put in all that hard work over the season and get what I came here for is just amazing. To get 5.36m, a PB by two centimetres, is just great – I’m so pleased to get that as well.”
On the moment he found out he had won, he added: “I kind of went mental and started jumping all over the place. There were a couple of tears as well. To have my family here is absolutely amazing, it is so special to have them out here watching me.
“My coach Chris Sinclair is a really great coach. We have been working on the chest hold and knee hold recently and that really came through today, so I owe a big thank you to him.”
There was stunning second silver medal for Kirsty Taylor (Morgan Jones; DSW Para Academy) [T44] as she claimed a podium spot in the U20 women’s T42-64 100m on Raza points. Getting out of the blocks well, Taylor ran a very controlled race, clocking 14.56 (-2.2).
The British team captain was delighted with her weeks work at the Championships and summarised after her race:
“It went well – It got a really good start and was quite close to the field by the end, so I’m happy to win the silver on points. I’m still on a high after winning silver and a PB yesterday, so I think that helped me today. It certainly gave me more confidence. It’s great to see so many of my teammates winning medals as well, so it really gives you a lift.”
Molly Hopkins (Morgan Jones; DSW Para Academy) [T62] did not start in the U17 women’s T42-64 100m.
Earlier in the day, Eden Rainbow-Cooper (Jenny Archer; Weir Archer Academy) and Ethan Kirby (Nick Harris; Newton Abbot) won U20 women’s T54 1500m silver and U20 men’s T20 400m bronze respectively. The British team’s medal tally now stands at nine overall after day two.
The British medallists (9):
Barney Corrall – U20 Men’s T35-38 long jump
Zien Zhou – U20 Men’s T33-34 100m
Matt Cooper – U20 Men’s T33-34 100m
Abbie McNally – U20 Women’s T35-38 200m
Eden Rainbow-Cooper – U20 Women’s T54 400m and 1500m
Kirsty Taylor – U20 Women’s T44-64 100m and 200m
Ethan Kirby – U20 Men’s T20 400m