19th May 2024


Sabrina Fortune (coach: Ryan Spencer Jones, club: Deeside) produced the best performance of her career as she sealed her third consecutive women’s F20 shot put title in a staggering world record of 14.73m.

Fortune broke the world record twice in her series – first with a best of 14.56m – and then on the final throw when she already knew she had secured the global gold for the third time.

Earlier in the programme, there was a fifth-place finish for Mo Jomni (Jenny Archer, Weir Archer Academy) in the T53 400m, and seventh place finishes for Melanie Woods (Rodger Harkins, Red Star) and Ali Smith (Benke Blomkvist, Guildford & Godalming) in the T54 800m and T38 100m respectively. Also, Nathan Maguire (Ste Hoskins, Kikrby) ensured he would be going in Monday morning’s T54 400m final after a fine display in very wet conditions on day two in Kobe, Japan.

Fortune secured the hattrick of gold medals in a remarkable series which she had threatened all year after a confident start to the season back in April. In Kobe, the Welsh athlete dominated the shot put circle and commanded the arena as she rewrote the record books after a superb series.

She opened with a very strong throw of 14.18m to put her into an early lead, and with her confidence sky-high, she extended the lead with the 14.56m, 17cm further than the previous record held by Poleth Isamar Mendes Sanchez (ECU) who would finish in second overall with a best of 13.90m.

A 13.64m and 14.23m added to her scorecard before a foul in round five, but on her final throw, when she already knew she had earned the win, she held her composure and threw further than she had ever done before with a mighty 14.73m effort, cue scenes of wild celebration.

An ecstatic Fortune spoke afterwards, “It was an amazing experience, something that I couldn’t have ever dreamed of…getting a world record. I’ve thrown two world records in a day which is incredible. I’ve been throwing so many good throws in the last two weeks, so I wasn’t expecting any less. To hit 14m on my first throw was absolutely crazy.

“I just had to tell myself [after the 14.56m WR] not to celebrate too early because that’s a PB in itself, but I knew if I overdid it, I wouldn’t throw any further. I had to keep a straight face, I kept going to grin, but I knew I had to hold it together right through the competition.

“I was over the moon with 14.73m. It’s hard to put into words how it felt to throw even further. I just wanted to run round and round in circles.”

In another rain-affected final on the night, Jomni was fifth in the men’s T53 400m final in his first world final since 2015.

Jomni, out in lane five, started brightly and pushed well down the backstraight as he sat in the middle of the pack as France’s Pierre Fairbank led it out from the front. As the top three pulled a considerable advantage over the rest of the field around the final bend, it was a case of the Briton fighting for place and he would ultimately take fifth behind Saudi Arabia’s Adbulrahman Alqurashi in a time of 55.81.

Afterwards, a reflective Jomni said, “Wearing the kit again it always nice, and to be here in the rainy weather of Kobe is not easy, but it is good to have those challenges back. I’m gutted because my 400m is my favourite event, so it is what it is.

“With the push rims, you can’t always get it right in the rain. I never usually push well in these conditions, but the soft gloves helped a little bit, but it just wasn’t quite there with the power ratio and movement.”

First up in the evening session, there was a seventh-place finish for Woods in the women’s T54 800m final after a challenging push in soggy conditions.

With the rain falling heavily and out in lane nine, Woods reached the break in eighth position and the field soon bunched up as they reached the 200m mark on the first lap. With spray flying back into the faces of athletes, it was a tricky race to manoeuvre for all involved, but as the top five pulled away, Woods was embroiled in a battle for sixth, but the Scottish athlete would ultimately cross the line in seventh in 2:01.83.

She said post-race, “It was so messy out there, the rain was mental, and it was just a case of fighting to get a position and hold it. Unfortunately, I just wasn’t aggressive enough to get into the gap behind the main pack, so it was just about doing what I could from there.”

Earlier in the day in slightly better but still, wet conditions, she qualified for the final after clocking 1:56.53 in third to advance automatically.

After thinking her “career was over” after running the heats of the 100m in the worlds last year, Smith was seventh across the line in the women’s T38 100m final on Sunday evening.

She fired out of the blocks as the rain fell, and powered down the home straight, working hard into the headwind and pushed on to a time of 13.68 (-0.7).

Smith said afterwards, “I am a bit disappointed, but I am so lucky to be here. However, I have that competitive voice in my head that wants more. I just have to know it will be a long road to get back to where I want to be, and I’ve just got to keep trying.”

It was all smiles for Nathan Maguire (Ste Hoskins, Kirkby) as he cruised into Monday morning’s men’s T54 400m final with a confident showing to finish second in his heat.

Knowing the top three would automatically progress into the final, Maguire accelerated away over the first 200m of the race, holding second place with 200m to go behind New Zealand’s Samuel Carter. Aware that he had done the hard work in the early stages, the Kirkby athlete stayed strong and maintained his form in the closing stages to clock a time of 48.55 to Carter’s 48.52.

Post race, Maguire commented, “It is always fun when it is wet, so everyone was in call room sussing out what everyone’s wet weather solutions were. Tonight was all about qualifying for tomorrow morning’s final, so to be coming top two is something I’m very happy with.

“This winter has really helped me prepare for this because between September and January we did about three sessions in the dry, so tonight was perfect for me because it was like competing at home. But I do hope we get a nicer day tomorrow!

“Every single time I get an opportunity to race out on a track at a major championships, I always look forward to it. It’s so hard to put into words how much this means to me.”

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

Start lists and results can be found HERE


The Great Britain and Northern Ireland medal tally:

Gold (3): Hollie Arnold [F46 Javelin], Jonathan Broom-Edwards [T64 High Jump], Sabrina Fortune [F20 Shot Put]

Silver (1): Thomas Young [T38 100m]

Bronze (1): Zac Shaw [T12 100m]