2nd August 2019
RAINBOW-COOPER AND KIRBY AMONG THE MEDALS AT THE WORLD PARA ATHLETICS JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS
Two more medals were won during a morning session affected by the wet conditions on day two of the World Para Athletics Junior Championships. Eden Rainbow-Cooper (coach: Jenny Archer; club: Weir Archer Academy) sealed her second silver of the week, and Ethan Kirby (Nick Harris; Newton Abbot) sealed a second successive bronze in the T20 400m.
Even as the weather conditions deteriorated, it did not stop Rainbow-Cooper winning silver in a tactical under-20 women’s T51-54 1500m. With puddles forming all over the track, the wheelchair racers faced a tricky three- and three-quarter laps and as a result, the field started very conservatively over the opening stages of the races.
As the bell tolled, the race hit its stride as the Briton moved ahead in lane two with the Swiss athlete Licia Mussinelli holding the inside line. Rainbow-Cooper pushed into the lead down the back straight but ultimately, the Swiss athlete finished a chair length ahead to take the gold in 4:37.87 to the Briton’s 4:38.13 for silver.
The Weir-Archer Academy athlete spoke afterwards: “It was pretty wet but it’s another silver, so I am delighted. It was such a good race, really tactical between me and Swiss girl. It was a great contest, but it was tricky in the wet conditions. It was so slow at the start, but the track was just so wet.
“I’m happy to win my second silver. It’s exceeded my expectations so far and now I’m really excited to see what I can do in the 800m and if I can win another medal.”
In the U20 men’s T20 400m, Ethan Kirby produced the best run of his career to win bronze in a huge personal best of 52.00, an improvement from 52.91.
Going out hard over the first 200m paid off for Kirby – also a bronze medallist at these Championships two years ago – and he maintained his composure over the second half of his race. The Brazilian Gustavo Henrique de Oliveria Dias won in a time of 49.79 after accelerating away from the field after the 200m mark. Kirby meanwhile faced a duel with the Italian Raffaele di Maggio, and eventually placed third to earn another visit to the podium.
Kirby said: “I’m happy to win bronze again; I would have liked another colour of medal, but I’m pleased. I always planned to push hard over the first 200m, but I could feel the other guys pull up on me around the final bend. But I think I ran it well, and I’m happy to break my PB as well.”
Also competing in this race was Prince Reid (David Liston; Blackheath & Bromley) who stopped the clock at 53.61 for fifth place overall. He showed his strength in the final 150m, reeling in two athletes down the home straight. He’ll be back to contest the 1500m on Sunday.
Six athletes take to the track and field later this evening with action getting underway from 15:00 UK time.
The British medallists (5):
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 200m
Ethan Kirby – U20 Men’s T20 400m
The World Para Athletics Junior Championships is being streamed on the World Para Athletics website, here: https://www.paralympic.org/athletics & results are here: https://www.nottwil2019.ch/en/start_list_results/
Find out more about the British team via our media guide, here: https://www.britishathletics.org.uk/news-and-features/world-para-athletics-junior-championships-british-team-media-guide/