3rd June 2021
YOUNG SEALS GOLD AS BRITISH TEAM WIN SEVEN MEDALS ON DAY THREE AT THE EUROPEAN CHAMPS
The British team clinched seven medals on the third day of the European Para Athletics Championships with gold medals for Thomas Young [Men’s T38 100m] and Fabienne André [Women’s T34 100m] while several athletes set personal bests on their way to silverware.
2018 champion Thomas Young (Joe McDonnell; Charnwood) defended his T38 100m title in style as he set a championship record on his way to gold. The world silver medallist burst out of the blocks and maintained his form to move away from the rest of the field, winning by a margin of 0.31 seconds from Frenchman, Dimitri Jozwicki, in a time of 11.03 (+0.3).
Bronze medallist in the 400m the previous night, Alexander Thomson (Chris Baillie; Victoria Park City of Glasgow) was sixth in a time of 12.06, while Ross Paterson (John Kinder; Red Star) continued his strong form during these championships by setting a season best of 12.31 for seventh.
A delighted Young said afterwards, “Today was all about winning. In a Championship final, that’s the main thing. As I crossed the line, I wasn’t too sure on the time, so when I saw it come up as 11.03, I was even happier. It is so close to my PB which is really encouraging as we are just over 50 days away from Tokyo.
“Last year I was gutted to see everything get cancelled. When I got the chance to run in Italy last month and then here, it is something I will always been appreciative of. I’m so pleased to get to run here and win the gold medal.
“Thank you to everyone, my coach, my parent, staff at British Athletics and the organisers because without all these people helping us, this wouldn’t have been possible to do.”
Co-captain of the British team Vanessa Wallace (Alison O’Riordan; Enfield and Haringey) produced the third furthest throw in history in her classification as she secured silver in the F34 Shot Put.
As the sun set on the Zdzisława Krzyszkowiaka stadium, the 2018 champion produced a phenomenal throw in round one. The mark measured at 8.73m which was not only a huge PB for Wallace but was also a European record at the time. Her previous best stood at 8.09m but that was soon confined to the history books as she set the outstanding mark.
However, on the final throw of the competition, Poland’s Lucyna Kornobys eclipsed that mark with a throw of 8.78m to take the title, but it was an exceptional display by the British athlete to reach the podium at a major championships once again.
A joyous Wallace said post-event, “I am absolutely over the moon. Anyone who knows me knows my cheeks are hurting from smiling so hard. I’m really proud of myself and my team. I gave her a good run today, I was only 5cm off the gold, so I’ll take that.
“I relaxed and enjoyed the actual event. I tried not to stress and force the throw. I just let my body do what I’ve trained it to do, and it really did do it today.
“We have had fun with training over the last few months. Alison (her coach) and I have been creative and pushed it. Each time it is a beautiful surprise what I can do. I say watch this space folks because there is a lot more to come. The girl is hungry for Tokyo now.”
On being voted co-captain by her team and the impact that had on her performance, she added, “Being voted by my peers to be captain is a beautiful thing. Being able to support the team has been amazing. The team has been doing some incredible things this week, so I am super proud.”
John Bridge (Darrell Maynard; Cardiff) delivered the performance of his young career as he won silver in the men’s T47 400m in a significant personal best of 50.75. The Welshman ran a superb opening 200m as he looked to have taken a narrow advantage heading into the bend, forcing the rest of the field to respond to his impressive start.
The 21-year-old maintained his composure and showed maturity beyond his years as he sprinted for the line. As Serbia’s Ivan Cvetkovic moved passed him with 50 metres to go, Bridge didn’t panic but held off the charge from Riccardo Bagaini (ITA) to earn the silver medal and lower his previous best by 1.12 seconds.
A beaming Bridge spoke afterwards, saying, “I am so happy, I didn’t expect that. I thought I’d got third place! I was trying to get to 23s on the first 200m and see what I could do on the second 200m. I was just trying to hold it as I got close to the line.
“I haven’t felt that much lactic in my legs for a long time, I can feel it now. I was trying to push harder when the Serbian went passed me, I don’t remember much of the last few metres. I’m so happy to win the silver medal, I can’t believe it. It will be so amazing to get that medal. I am so happy right now. I will love every second of it.”
In the men’s T42/44/63/64 high jump, Jonathan Broom-Edwards (Graham Ravenscroft; Newham & Essex Beagles) won the silver medal. The mixed classification event was calculated on points to distinguish between the different classes.
The world champion cleared five heights at the first time of asking in the early stages of the competition and despite one foul at 2.00m, he made light work of the 2.04m bar, going over on his first attempt. Three fouls at 2.08m ended his series but it saw him place second overall on 791 points. Poland’s Maciej Lepiato won overall with a best of 2.08m which saw him collect 845 points.
He commented, “It didn’t go right for me. I’ve jumped high enough this year to win that competition. I was getting it right at the lower heights, but it didn’t happen near the end of the competition. I’ll regroup from here and make sure I am ready for Tokyo, that is what is most important for me.”
Luke Sinnott (Roger Keller; Bournemouth) won his first European medal with a jump of 5.15m in the men’s T63 long jump. It was the Invictus Games medallists first major medal in para athletics, and he was rightly pleased and honoured to reach the podium.
On new blades, he managed to get the white flag on his third jump and despite the rest of his series containing fouls, his 5.61m mark was a Championship record for T61 athletes. Denmark’s Daniel Wagner [T63] won the event with a best of 7.15m.
Sinnot said, “At the last Europeans I broke a leg and finished fourth and was quite a painful event, so it was nice to win a medal today and exorcise those demons. Performance-wise I know there is a lot more in the tank.
“I’ve got a different set-up, I’m on some new legs now. I look like half-man, half leaping deer, so I’m still working on them. But it is coming, I think you are going to see some big jumps later this year.”
Nathan Maguire (Ste Hoskins; Kirkby) was back on the podium at the European Championships as he clinched bronze in the T54 400m while Daniel Sidbury (Christine Parsloe; Sutton & District) was narrowly behind in fourth.
In another top-quality field, the Britons put themselves in contention in the early stages, with Maguire opening a gap on his compatriot with 200m to go. Maguire’s time was 48.73 with the Sutton and District athlete following in 49.30, while Leo Pekka Tahti (FIN) took home the gold medal.
The Cheshire-based athlete said, “The 54 class is so stacked, and there are more guys here than in 2018 so to get a medal is phenomenal. I’m buzzing with it. I would have loved to have won a gold or silver, but it is how it goes on the day.
“I was a bit jumpy at the start – it wasn’t as good as it could have been, but I managed to chase them down. By the 200m to go mark, I’d got myself into a very good position so I knew I could do something. I was just chasing them and trying to catch them.”
In her third final in three days, Mel Woods (Rodger Harkins; Red Star) pushed to a fourth position finish in the women’s T54 400m, her best placing of the week so far.
Following fifth in the 1500m and seventh in the 100m, Woods is learning in every race in Poland, and tracked the leading three athletes from lane seven, pushing them all the way. However, in the final 100m, the top three had enough to hold off the Briton’s challenge.
During the morning session, Fabienne André (coach: Jenny Archer, club: Weir Archer Academy) secured her first European title as she won the women’s T34 100m. She started well and held an advantage over her rivals in the opening few pushes, and she extended that leading margin as the contest unfolded. The Weir Archer Academy athlete held off the threat of Russia’s Veronika Doronina winning it with a time of 18.94 (1.0) to her opponent’s 19.50.
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 (19):
Gold (6): Fabienne André [Women’s T34 100m], Columba Blango [Men’s T20 400m], Sophie Hahn [Women’s T38 100m], Maria Lyle [Women’s T35 200m], Zak Skinner [Men’s T13 100m], Thomas Young [Men’s T38 100m]
Silver (6): John Bridge [Men’s T47 400m], Jonathan Broom-Edwards [Men’s T42/44/63/64 High Jump], Shaun Burrows [Men’s T38 400m], Kyron Duke [Men’s F41 Shot Put], Danny Sidbury [Men’s T54 1500m], Vanessa Wallace [Women’s F34 Shot Put]
Bronze (7): Ola Abidogun [Men’s T47 100m], Nathan Maguire [Men’s T54 400m], Polly Maton [T47 Long Jump], Luke Nuttall [Men’s T46 1500m], Luke Sinnott [Men’s T63 Long Jump], Emily Stewart [Women’s F38 Discus], Alexander Thomson [Men’s T38 400m]