17th May 2024


Kevin Santos (coach: Mike Utting, club: City of Norwich) and Zac Shaw (Leon Baptiste, Cleethorpes) both progressed to world finals on a successful morning for the Great Britain and Northern Ireland team at the World Para Athletics Championships Kobe24.

In warm conditions on day one in Japan, it was Santos who was first up for GB & NI, and he made easy work of qualification to the final of the men’s T47 100m as he won his heat in a time of 11.16 (-1.3).

The 2023 world bronze medallist composed himself after the field was brought back on the first start and a green flag was waved, and he fought through a headwind to win heat two ahead of Cuban Raciel Gonzalez Isidoria comfortably.

The City of Norwich athlete, who will return for the final at 19:10 [11:10 UK time], said afterwards, “I feel confident considering it is my season opener. I have been working on my start over the last few months and trying to perfect that ready for these Championships and also for the Paralympic year.

“I felt like I got out good in that heat, there was just a very strong headwind in my face. But I’m looking forward to that final later in today.”

30 minutes after Santos had exited the track, co-captain Shaw took to the Kobe Universiade Memorial Stadium for his heat of the T12 100m, with only the heat winners and one fastest qualifier progressing to the final.

Shaw, going in heat three of three, got out of the blocks strongly and held his form to go clear of the Brazilian Kesley Teodoro and win in a time of 11.00 (0.4) and move into Saturday evening’s final.

Shaw, who won his maiden world medals at the 2023 edition of the Championships, was delighted with his morning’s work, saying,

“On the way to call I was just thinking ‘when am I going to go to a Championships and not feel nervous?’ I think I executed the race relatively well, I felt quite relaxed when I got upright into my running. Onto the final tomorrow.

“I was just thinking, react from the gun – because I’ve got a good start a lot of the time I get chased down – but when I get up, if I don’t tense up, I should be able to come through. I could feel the Brazilian creeping up on me in the last 20m but I was just telling myself not to tighten up and I would get to the line first.

“The thing with T12 is that four people make the final and you have to win the heat to make the final, so I prepped for this one quite seriously, so I am glad I got that out of the way so I can focus on the final.”

Shaw is balancing his performance commitments with his co-captaincy of the GB & NI team after being voted by his compatriots earlier in the week. On sharing captain responsibilities with Ali Smith, he added,

““I am really proud and genuinely honoured and privileged to have my teammates think so highly of me as a person to be voted as co-captain. I think this is one of my best achievements in life full stop. To co-captain with Ali makes it super special. This Champs has been awesome, the GB team from the athletes to the staff has been so good.”

The 2024 World Para Athletics Championships will be live on the IPC YouTube channel HERE

Start lists and results can be found HERE