28th May 2017


World records were the order of the weekend as Hannah Cockroft (coach: Jenni Banks) improved her previous bests in the T34 400m and 800m, whilst Sophie Hahn (Joe McDonnell) dipped under the T38 200m record in Bedford, on a remarkable weekend for Britain’s para athletes.

Out in Arbon, the Swiss Nationals produced a number of world-class displays across the board, with Cockroft seizing the opportunity to re-write the history books. On Saturday, she lowered her best in the 400m, going under 58 seconds for the second time in a week, recording a time of 57.73.

With the World Para Athletics Championships on the horizon, the seven-time world champion has her eyes set on another major medal haul on home soil, and an impressive showing in the 800m was an ominous sign for her opponents. Her push of 1:55.73 is the first time a T34 female athlete has gone sub 1:56 – and that previous best mark was set by her last year. It really has been quite a four days for Cockroft who has set four world records in that time.

Sammi Kinghorn (Ian Mirfin) was again in formidable form over 200m in the T53 class – a win in 28.91 (-0.9) was close to the world record she set in Arizona over a week ago. There was also a European record in the 800m, taking a full second off her best set in Rio last year – the time was confirmed at 1:47.60.

The ever-improving Toby Gold (Banks) smashed his European record in the T33 100m, crossing the line in 17.01 (1.0), coming just two days after lowering his best to 17.05. The 22 year-old European champion went even better on the Arbon track, and will be one to watch at the Worlds this summer.

In the T34 events, Ben Rowlings (Job King) enjoyed quite a day, breaking two European records, and even coming close to a world record over 1500m. In the latter, he produced a display of 3:13.00 which was just over a second outside the best ever time in that classification, held by Walid Ktila. Earlier in the 400m, he revised the European best to 51.83 – he had set a then PB of 52.95 on Thursday.

Cross-training seems to be working well for Jade Jones (Ian Thompson / Tanni Grey-Thompson) as she bettered her T54 1500m personal best to 3:18.34 – an improvement by over four seconds and a British record as well.

There were a number of other personal bests from British athletes across the two days of action, including Richard Chiassaro (Banks) who dipped under the three minute barrier in the T54 1500m for the first time in his career, recording a solo best of 2:59.87. Full results can be found here

In Bedford, it was another successful weekend for Hahn who had set a world best over 100m at the Loughborough International last weekend. This time she fared brilliantly over 200m, surging to a time of 26.20 which improved upon Margarita Goncharova’s previous best of 26.46.

Elsewhere, Jordan Howe (Christian Malcolm) delivered a fantastic performance in the T35 100m, a career best of 12.54 (+1.1). The Welshman, who is also taking time to coach young athletes down in Cardiff, is coming off a spell of great races, having previously clocked 12.72 at the Loughborough International last weekend and a 12.75 in Dubai in March.

The evergreen Graeme Ballard (Trevor Painter) produced the best 200m time of his long career. At the age of 37, the Wigan & District athlete showed no sign of letting up, achieving a time of 24.93 (1.5).

Elsewhere, Paralympic champions Jonnie Peacock (Dan Pfaff/Mike Khmel) and Georgie Hermitage (Paul MacGregor) were both in action in the 100m races.

After winning the Great CityGames T44 100m the previous evening, Peacock made the trip for another run out in Bedford. On this occasion, he clocked an 11.10 (+0.4). Meanwhile, Hermitage was taking on her first race since Rio as she continues her return to fitness after injury. The Guildford & Goldalming athlete clocked a best time of 13.83 (+0.4) in the 100m.

Full results and round-up from Bedford can be found on the England Athletics website: http://www.englandathletics.org