24th August 2018
JO BUTTERFIELD AND RHYS JONES ADD WPA EUROPEAN SILVERS TO BRITISH MEDAL COLLECTION
Four further medals were added to the tally during the evening session at the World Para Athletics European Championships in Berlin.
There were silver medals for Jo Butterfield (F51 Club Throw) and Rhys Jones (T37 100m), while there were bronze medals for Steve Osborne (T51 200m) and Polly Maton (T47 100m), the latter winning her second medal of the day after bronze in the long jump during the morning session. David Devine (Liverpool, Anthony Clarke) won gold in the T13 5000m during the morning session on day five.
For Jo Butterfield (Forth Valley Flyers, Philip Peat), it was a return to the podium at the Championships, throwing a solid series, her best effort coming in round four, with a best of 21.53m. Zoia Ovsii (UKR) won the event in a world record of 24.31m.
Butterfield spoke afterwards: “It has been a tough year; I had surgery earlier in the year, so I am just very happy to be competing here. I would have liked to have thrown a little further, but it is pretty good to be out there.
“I would have preferred the gold to be honest but wouldn’t we all. But getting a medal for the team is a big thing. Whatever happened on the day, I was still able to come out here and win a medal. It has been a rough year and a lot of rehab, I still have more to come. To take that silver medal is quite special.”
She added: “I was perhaps a bit sluggish but I still lacking a bit of range so maybe that is why I felt like that. I was glad to get one really big throw out there where the speed was right but the others, I didn’t feel like that. I have a lot of work to do over the winter to get stronger, but I look forward to doing that and coming back fighting in Dubai next year.”
Her teammate Kylie Grimes (Coventry, Philip Peat) had a consistent series over the 17-metre mark, her best coming in the final round with 17.92m.
Jones (DSW Para Academy, Christian Malcolm) got the British team off to another great start in the first event of the evening session of day five in Berlin, bettering his fourth in the T37 200m final to claim a superb silver in the T37 100m medal showdown.
The Welsh athlete got off to a perfect start, comfortably in the medal mix after 30m before powering through to claim silver in 12.10. He said: “I am over the moon. It has been a rollercoaster of a year, especially with the Commonwealth Games so earlier in the season. Times weren’t an issue it was about coming out an executing. I knew if I could execute I could win a medal. I said that after the 200m where it didn’t happen, but it was my time to shine this time and I delivered on the big stage.
“You don’t come here to make up the numbers, you really don’t. A gold medal would have been great but after agonisingly missing out on the podium in the 200m, this is redemption. I was the fastest coming into the final, but I tried not to think of that. I am just a boy from Rhondda on the big stage and I have come away with a major medal again.”
Meanwhile, Polly Maton (Team Devizes – Moonrakers AC, Colin Baross) further underlined her potential as she won her second bronze medal of the day after a fantastic run in the women’s T47 100m final. Maton, fresh from bronze in the T47 long jump during the morning session, battled brilliantly over the last 50m to reach the podium once again.
Maton fought off the challenge of Saska Sokolov to take bronze in 13.45 with her Serbian rival clocking 13.53 in fourth while British teammate Sally Brown (Charnwood; Joe McDonnell) was just narrowly behind in fifth in 13.56.
The 18-year-old said: “It has been a bit of a mad day. I have never done two events in the same day at this level, so I was a bit concerned coming into this and I haven’t had ideal preparation because I got my A level results last week and before that had exams.
“Leading up to this I didn’t know who I was going to perform so to come away with two bronze medals is amazing. To be a good long jumper you have to be a good sprinter, so I am not going to dismiss the sprinting as well. The time was not good, but it is not really what championships is about. To come away with a second bronze is a shock.”
Like Maton, Osborne (Dartford Harriers, self-coached) added his second medal of the Championships but not within the space of the same day as he added men’s T51 200m bronze to the medal of the same colour he won in the 100m exactly 72 hours ago.
The 55-year-old got off to a solid start around the bend and wasn’t distracted by his rivals powering ahead early, focusing on his own race to ensure a second trip to the podium to collect bronze with a time of 47.35.
He said: “I am really pleased. I was a bit worried coming around the bend because I was veering over and had to keep straightening up, but I am pleased. I just knew that I had to catch up with the Portuguese guy on the bend so I that I could come out on the straight in front of him and then I knew I would have the race.
“It went how I planned. I did want to be close to the front two, but they were gone so it was just a race between myself and Portuguese guy and it went my way. I came to get two medals [he won bronze in the 100m] and I couldn’t have asked for more. It has been a real pleasure being involved with the team.”
Steve Morris (Cardiff; James Thie) ran his first final of the Championships in the men’s T20 800m but narrowly missed out on reaching the podium himself. Morris challenged the field by hitting the front early on however he was just pushed out of the medal positions in fourth in 1:57.76.
After winning gold in the F34 shot put earlier in the week, Vanessa Wallace (Enfield & Haringey, Alison O’Riordan) returned to action in the javelin event, ending the competition in seventh position. After five fouls during her series, her fourth-round effort of 9.86m was her best on the night.
Meanwhile Nathan Maguire (Halton & Frodsham; Ste Hoskins) was the sole Brit in qualifying action on the fifth night in Berlin as he lined up in the second of two T54 100m heats. Maguire has two bronze medals to show from his three events so far and will go for a third podium finish in the shortest distance.
Requiring a top-three finish to progress out of the heats and into the final, Maguire cruised into the final after finishing second in his race in 15.11, the third quickest time overall behind Leo Pekka Tahti (FIN) and Keeny van Weeghel (NED).