4th June 2021


Kayleigh Haggo [Women’s RR3 100m] broke the world record and Dan Pembroke [Men’s F13 Javelin] set a European record as they both won gold medals along with Rafi Solaiman [Men’s RR3 100m]; three of ten British medals claimed on day four of the European Para Athletics Championships.

Dan Greaves [Men’s F64 Discus] and the Universal 4x100m Relay team [Zac Shaw, Sophie Kamlish, Sophie Hahn and Nathan Maguire] secured silver medals, while there were bronze medals for Stef Reid [Women’s T64 Long Jump], Nathan Maguire [Men’s T54 800m] and Harrison Walsh [Men’s F64 Discus].

Earlier in the morning session, Lydia Church [women’s F12 Shot Put] and Olivia Breen [women’s T38 Long Jump] won silver and bronze respectively.

Kayleigh Haggo (coach: John Owens; club: Ayr Seaforth) lowered the women’s RR3 100m world record as she added the European title to the world gold she won two years ago. The Scottish athlete bettered her European silver medal from 2018, producing a dominant display to win in a time of 18.11 (1.0m/s), nearly a second-and-a-half quicker than her closest competitor.

Speaking after her world record and gold medal winning performance, Haggo said: “I’m so so happy. I’ve been working really hard so for that to pay off means so much. Things have been going well in training and I’ve been setting some really quick times so far this season, so to break the world record here at these Championships, I can’t put into words how much it means to me.

“It’s always great for us to have frame running at these Championships, so to come away with gold this time is just amazing. The girls are getting faster so the standard is getting stronger across the board which is great for the event.”

Dan Pembroke (David Turner; Windsor Slough Eton and Hounslow) furthered his personal best by nearly 11 metres as he threw three PBs and a European record of 66.75m to claim gold in the men’s F13 men’s javelin in Bydgoszcz. It was a memorable day for the Windsor Slough Eton and Hounslow athlete who was wearing the British vest for the first time in 10 years, throwing personal bests in round two (59.11m) and round three (65.25m).

Further throws over 60 metres followed in round four (60.56m) and round five (62.01m), both further than the next best thrower of 58.76m. Taking to the runway for the final time with gold guaranteed, Pembroke saved his best to last, unleashing an almighty roar as he threw the European record mark of 66.75, improving the record set in 2016 by a metre.

Delighted with his record-breaking return to a major championships, Pembroke said: “I haven’t competed at a competition at this level for 10 years, so coming out there in the first couple of throws it was quite overwhelming. My technique went out of the window but then I started to loosen up a bit. My coach, Dave Turner, was on zoom watching it so he saw the whole combination of throws and he told me to get a bit more speed at the end of the runway. And then, bang, it went out there, consecutively over 60 metres.

“On the last throw, Dave was there and he said on the throw before, my speed wasn’t in it. I had one more opportunity, so I had to go for it, and if I went over the line, then I went over the line. I said to the guy officiating, ‘I’m going to go for the Championship record now’. I relaxed and it just happened, so I’m really pleased.

“I never thought I’d be throwing javelin again after snapping my medial collateral ligament in the year of the actual Olympics (2012). Then I realised I could compete in para sport and it has given me a new opportunity in my life. I have so much gratitude to so many people for getting me in this position.”

World silver medallist Rafi Solaiman (Philip Fleetwood; Sheffield & Dearne) won the third GB&NI gold medal of the day in the men’s RR3 100m, quickly following Kayleigh Haggo’s golden moment in the women’s equivalent. Like Haggo, the 21-year-old powered away from the rest of the field, becoming European champion for the first time, knocking 0.8 seconds off his lifetime best, crossing the line in 17.16 (1.1m/s).

Speaking after becoming European champion, Solaiman said: “I’m so happy with myself, I really am. I thought everyone did great [in the race]. I didn’t know how it would pan out, but I am so glad I’ve got the European gold medal now. I really can’t wait to get the gold medal. It’s an honour and a privilege to be competing here.”

There were two British athletes on the Men’s F64 Discus podium as defending champion Dan Greaves (Zane Duquemin; Charnwood) claimed silver, while Harrison Walsh (Nathan Stephens; Swansea) secured a debut European bronze medal.

It took a Championship record from Croatia’s Ivan Katanusic (57.94m) to deny Greaves a sixth European title. The Charnwood athlete finished the competition with a best of 57.05m to secure silver and another international medal, furthering his first (55.83m) and second (56.82m) attempts on his fourth throw.

After not recording a throw in round one, Walsh was never out of the medal places after his second-round effort of 52.92m. The 25-year-old put together a great series of throws, with his best coming on the third attempt – 54.85m – to claim bronze.

The 4x100m Universal Relay team provided a thrilling end to the evening session with the quartet of Zac Shaw (Leon Baptiste; Cleethorpes) [T12], Sophie Kamlish (Rob Ellchuk; Bristol & West) [T64], Sophie Hahn (Leon Baptiste; Charnwood) [T38] and Nathan Maguire (Ste Hoskins; Kirkby) [T54] bringing home silver.

The team pushed the race winners Russia all the way to the line with Shaw getting the British quartet off to the brilliant start which was continued by Kamlish. Hahn – who won individual gold earlier in the week – kept the team in contention with Russia strong on the final bend. Maguire powered down the home straight as he took over from Hahn with 100m to go, closing the gap to the Russians as they claimed silver in a time of 48.20.

Earlier in the session, Maguire’s strength and speed was showcased once more as he claimed his second bronze medal in as many days, continuing his busy week with bronze in the men’s T54 800m. Maguire, who was competing in his sixth race of the Championships, found himself boxed in behind Finland’s Leo Pekka Tahti and next to race winner Marcel Hug of Switzerland as the athletes took the bell.

Holding his position on the final lap, Maguire was fourth heading into the final 100m, showing his tactical nous and strength to pass Tahti on the home straight to claim bronze in a season’s best 1:37.60.

Dan Sidbury (Christine Parsloe; Sutton & District) also finished strongly, coming from the back of the field to finish sixth in 1:38.48.

In the field, Stef Reid (Aston Moore; Charnwood) added another medal to her impressive international medal haul, securing bronze in a superb women’s T64 Long Jump final. After beginning the competition with three fouls, the 2017 world champion used all of her experience and calmness under pressure to leap into bronze medal position with her fourth-round attempt of 5.11m (-1.0m/s).

It was a distance that was furthered by Reid on her fifth attempt, jumping a season’s best of 5.26m (-1.2m/s) to secure her ninth major championships medal and repeat her bronze medal performance from 2018.

Staying with the field events, Jonathan Adams (Margaret Nicholls; Ipswich) finished fourth in the men’s F35 Shot Put. Adams’ best throw came in the first round with a distance of 11.78m as he finished the competition with five throws over 11 metres.

On the track, Mel Woods (Rodger Harkins; Red Star) rounded-off her busy week with another strong showing in her first senior competition. Woods finished fifth in the women’s 800m T54 final in a time of 1:57.59, her fourth event in four days.

Rhys Jones (Kevin Williams; DSW Para Academy) ran a strong opening bend in the men’s T37 200m, crossing the line in a season’s best 24.60 for fifth.

During the morning session, Lydia Church [Women’s F12 Shot Put] sealed silver and Olivia Breen [Women’s T38 Long Jump] clinched bronze in their respective events.

Church (Jim Edwards; Peterborough and Nene Valley) won her first European medal as she took the silver medal with the second furthest throw of her career, a mark of 12.34m.

Meanwhile, Breen (Aston Moore; City of Portsmouth) won her first women’s T38 long jump European medal, which was consolidated with a season best of 4.94m (0.4) on her final jump.

Results can be found at https://www.paralympic.org/bydgoszcz-2021/results

The event is live streamed on the Channel 4 Para Sport website: https://paralympics.channel4.com

British medallists (29):

Gold (9): Fabienne André [Women’s T34 100m], Columba Blango [Men’s T20 400m], Kayleigh Haggo [Women’s RR3 100m], Sophie Hahn [Women’s T38 100m], Maria Lyle [Women’s T35 200m], Daniel Pembroke [Men’s F13 Javelin], Zak Skinner [Men’s T13 100m], Rafi Solaiman [Men’s RR3 100m], Thomas Young [Men’s T38 100m],

Silver (9): John Bridge [Men’s T47 400m], Jonathan Broom-Edwards [Men’s T42/44/62/64 High Jump], Shaun Burrows [Men’s T38 400m], Lydia Church [Women’s F12 Shot Put], Kyron Duke [Men’s F41 Shot Put], Dan Greaves [Men’s F64 Discus], Danny Sidbury [Men’s T54 1500m], Vanessa Wallace [Women’s F34 Shot Put], 4x100m Universal Relay

Bronze (11): Ola Abidogun [Men’s T47 100m], Olivia Breen [Women’s T38 Long Jump], Nathan Maguire [Men’s T54 400m and 800m], Polly Maton [T47 Long Jump], Luke Nuttall [Men’s T46 1500m], Stef Reid [Women’s T64 Long Jump], Luke Sinnott [Men’s T63 Long Jump], Emily Stewart [Women’s F38 Discus], Alexander Thomson [Men’s T38 400m], Harrison Walsh [Men’s F64 Discus]