19th July 2017

Sizzling Sammi adds bronze to gold and Maria bags second medal against all odds

The British team were back in the medals on day six of the World Para Athletics Championships as Maria Lyle and Sammi Kinghorn (Ian Mirfin) won marvellous bronze medals.

Lyle backed her 200m bronze with another tonight in the T35 100m. The 17 year-old got a lightning start and put herself in podium contention from the outset.

Reigning Paralympic Champion Xia Zhou of China powered into a lead within 30m, though, only to be beaten in the final few strides by Isis Holt of Australia reversing the gold-silver positions from Rio. Lyle, third in Rio, kept her head and her form to motor in for bronze in 14.45.

Holt’s winning time was a world record of 13.43 and a clearly delighted Lyle, only 17, who lapped up the crowd’s attention and revealed that just a few days ago she thought her Worlds were over before they started.

She said:  “Basically in the holding camp a couple of weeks ago my fascia became inflamed in between my shin bone and my calf so I’ve had a lot of injections and pain killers to try and calm it down so that I could manage to run and It’s been really amazing to have the support of the British Athletics medical team to help me get to the start line.

“It was only this week that I was able to run again, last week I couldn’t run at all, I could hardly walk. So it’s been a really good turn-around as I was preparing myself not to be able to run. I managed to finish both races and get a medal and I couldn’t ask for more”.

Later in the evening, 21 year-old Scottish athlete Kinghorn had already pocketed gold in the 200m on Saturday night and set out tonight at a sizzling pace around the opening bend, maintaining her form and speed down the back straight.

That meant the wheelchair track race was in touch with reigning Paralympic Champion Zhou Hongzhuan of China as the race emerged from the final bend. Whilst Zhou powered to victory in a Championship record of 55.22, Kinghorn was tracked and then overtaken by world record holder Chelsea McClammer and found herself in a battle for bronze with Angela Ballard of Australia. Bronze for Kinghorn in 55.71 was a great step up from fifth at Rio Paralympic Games in 2016.

Kinghorn said: My arms felt like they were going to fall off; I’m not going to lie, I didn’t have much left towards the end. I knew it was opportunity so I just had to keep going and going and throw my arms down as hard as possible. I can’t believe that I’ve won another medal. I’ve raced really well all season, so I knew that I had the speed. I know that I struggle with endurance against other girls – they are more mature than I am, have been in the chair longer, so they’re a little bit stronger come the end of the race.

“I knew my start would be fab, and I couldn’t believe how close I was to the Chinese girl on the final bend – that gave me hope to power home. I really enjoyed feeling the sprint on the bend – I can’t wait to watch Rio back when I came sixth and then watch today – I can’t believe it.”

She added: “People underestimate how much a home crowd makes a difference: when you’re on the start line and you get the loudest scream, it does put the other athletes off. I kind of soak that up, give them a wave and try and make them scream a bit louder. I’m so thankful we have them here to support us.”

Her medal was British Athletics’ 22nd of the event and helped to keep the home nation in third place behind China and the USA.

Rhys Jones (Christian Malcolm), Zac Shaw (Joe McDonnell), and Richard Chiassaro (Jenni Banks) all progressed safely from their heats.

Welsh athlete Jones, drawn alongside reigning Paralympic Champion Charl du Toit from South Africa, weathered two false starts which saw Saijad Alwahhah of Iraq and Mario Tataren of Argentina exit the competition.

When the athletes went to their marks for the third time of asking, Jones rocketed out of the blocks, led with 75m gone and recorded a PB of 11.69 to take second a whisker behind du Toit.

He said the personal best was somewhat of a surprise: “I wasn’t expecting that. To be honest, when I have run a PB in the past, I’ve been absolutely knackered (afterwards) but today I feel like there is a lot left in the tank. Training has been going well in the build-up.”

Shaw, not to be outdone, shaved more than a tenth off his lifetime best to win the opening heat of the T12 200m in 22.73.  The 21 year-old from Grimsby worked hard around the bend to set up a titanic home-straight tussle with 2016 Rio Paralympic silver medallist Hilton Langenhoven from South Africa. Shaw prevailed by three hundreds of a second to move into tomorrow’s final with confidence.

He said: “It gave me goose bumps going out there after Rhys (Jones – after his PB); it really gave me a lift. My previous personal best was from two years ago. I don’t run 200m so often but I knew with how my 100s were going that I could do well. I was very disappointed after that 100m so I may have run an angry race today but it paid off.

“The South African (Langenhoven) beat me in the 100m. Coming off the bend I was level with him and then he perhaps had half a metre on me at 150m. In the last 30m, the crowd were getting louder as I closed the gap and that really helped me get the win”.

For the 36 year-old Chiassaro (Jenni Banks), today proved more straightforward for the Harlow wheelchair athlete as he cruised into tomorrow’s final of the T54 400m with a strong performance to take second place in 46.93 from reigning World Champion Liu Yan of China who won the heat in 46.84.

Chiassaro started swiftly and ate up the stagger on Alexandre Dupont of China to his outside within the first 110m.  The Rio 2016 finalist scythed past the field to exit the final bend on level terms with Yang and pushed strongly in the final 100m to make the second qualifying slot secure.

“As soon as I saw that I’d got the second slot I just relaxed. I just did enough.  I am feeling alright.  My left wrist is hurting on the starts but once it’s flowing it’s ok.

“The 400m is my favourite event. I like the events where it’s done in lanes and it’s about who is the fastest but on the distance races it comes down to tactics and I’m very inexperienced at that but I’m going to go away and practice and hopefully get better at it. A low 46 or maybe 45 seconds will be needed for the podium”.

Nathan Maguire (Ste Hoskins) is learning his international trade here but loving the support of the British crowds. Today the teenager from Chester, drawn in lane four, saw Yassine Gharbi race out ahead to set a Championship record to win the second T54 400m heat.

Behind Gharbi, Maguire raced maturely, kept in contention and tried his utmost to secure a qualifying slot driving hard down the final 100m only to lose out to China’s reigning Paralympic silver medallist Liu Chengming. It was another fighting performance but not enough to book Maguire a place in tomorrow’s final missing out by 0.18 of a second.


British Athletics medallists at the World Para Athletics Championships London 2017:

Gold (11):

Hollie Arnold – F46 Javelin

Olivia Breen – T38 Long Jump

Hannah Cockroft – T34 100m, 800m

Aled Davies – F42 Discus

Sophie Hahn – T38 200m

Sophie Kamlish – T44 100m

Sammi Kinghorn – T53 100m

Jonnie Peacock – T44 100m

Stef Reid – T44 Long Jump

Richard Whitehead – T42 200m

Silver (2):

Kare Adenegan – T34 100m

Toby Gold – T33 100m

Bronze (9):

Kare Adenegan – T34 800m

Kadeena Cox – T38 200m

David Henson – T42 200m

Sammi Kinghorn – T53 400m

Maria Lyle – T35 100m and 200m

Gemma Prescott – F32 Club Throw

Andrew Small – T33 100m

Richard Whitehead – T42 100m


The timetable for the World Para Athletics Championships can be found here.