1st August 2019


The Great Britain and Northern Ireland team got off to a scintillating start at the World Para Athletics Junior Championships in Nottwil, Switzerland as three athletes won silver medals on day one.

Eden Rainbow-Cooper (Jenny Archer; Weir Archer Academy), Abbie McNally (Charles Forbes; Inverness) and Kirsty Taylor (Morgan Jones; DSW Para Academy) all won silver medals on the first day of action.

Rainbow-Cooper described her under-20 T54 400m silver as ‘redemption’ after she agonisingly missed out on the medals two years ago at this championship, but on this occasion, she powered her way to the podium after a superb performance over the one-lap distance.

The Weir-Archer Academy athlete started well, holding a steady advantage around the first bend, but as the American – and eventual winner in 59.37 – Hannah Dederick moved ahead, the Briton became embroiled in a battle for silver with the Swiss athlete Licia Mussinelli. They were neck and neck coming into the home straight, but the home favourite could not hold off Rainbow-Cooper who earned a superb first international medal for Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

After clocking 1:01.95, just outside her PB, she said: “It was great – I didn’t medal last time, so I’ve sort of come back with a bit of a vengeance. I felt like I needed to prove myself and I feel as though I have done that now.

“The race passed by so quickly. Usually when I do 400m, they seem to drag on because I don’t really like sprinting, so to go out and do it like that, it feels good. It has given me confidence for the rest of the competition [she still has the 800m and 1500m to come] so I’m ready for anything now.”

With most events being mixed classification finals, medals in the other events involving Britons on Thursday were determined on Raza points, which is a method in Paralympic athletics competitions for comparing times by athletes of differing levels of disability.

In the final event of the day, team captain Kirsty Taylor (Morgan Jones; DSW Para Academy) [T44] went in the U20 women’s T44-64 200m, clocking a huge personal best of 30.01 (+0.5) on her way to a super silver to add to GB & NI’s tally for the day.

Coming off the bend hard, British team captain Taylor threw everything into her race, and on Raza points, she claimed the silver medal overall, while the race was won by Ecuador’s Kiara Rodriguez.

The Welsh athlete spoke afterwards: “I am so happy. I ran a really big PB; I took almost a second off my previous best, so I am really pleased. I ran really hard from the start and just gave everything. My plan was to push hard through the bend and them come off nice and tall in the straight. I think I executed it well so I’m really happy.

“I have got a lot of support from the guys at Disability Sport Wales who are out here. When they told me that I had won silver, I was so happy. My family are here as well so it is just a great moment.”

In the U20 women’s T35-38 200m, there was more metal to be won as Abbie McNally (Charles Forbes; Inverness) [T37] claimed silver after a valiant run. After a faulty start brought the race back for a second go, the young Scot started well, showing her strength over the first bend before holding her form in the final 100m. Despite a long wait for the results, she was finally named as the silver medallist at her first junior international in a time of 31.00 (+0.7), just 0.05 seconds outside her PB.

On being a world junior silver medallist, she said: “It sounds crazy; I really didn’t expect it at all. I never thought I’d ever get to this position – I couldn’t have done it without the support of my coach, my family, and all the team out here in Switzerland.

“The race was really good. I think I got around the bend quite well and I managed to hold my form going into the straight. I’ve been focusing on the 200m this season, and particularly on improving my finish, so it has paid off.”

McNally – who finished second behind Mexico’s Karla Sofia Cardenas Herrera – added: “It was an amazing experience. I never thought I’d get to this position. I only started the sport four years ago, so this is just incredible.”

In the same race from lane one, India Oates (Helen Bowles; Darlington Harriers) [T35] ran a superb race, pushing hard around the first 100m which pushed her to a time of 34.81 (+0.7) in eighth position.

Earlier in the U20 men’s T35-38 200m, Alexander Thomson (Thomas Graham; Whitemoss) [T38] was fourth overall following three heats. He clocked 24.12 (+0.8) in his race, firing out of the blocks after a slight delay to start his heat. He held his form in the closing stages in a time that saw him well-placed in the final standings. The race was won by the Brazilian, Christian Gabriel Luis da Costa [T37] in 23.75 (+0.8).

British medallists:

Silver: (3)

Abbie McNally – U20 Women’s T35-38 200m

Eden Rainbow-Cooper – U20 Women’s T54 400m

Kirsty Taylor – U20 Women’s T44-64 200m


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/

Photo credit: Luc Percival