Britain Strikes Gold at World Champs

THE IPC Athletics World Championships in Doha started last week, and Great Britain already have a very impressive medal haul. This competition will be the last event before the Paralympics in Rio next year and so may be a good reflection of how the team will perform.

Notable victories include Hannah Cockroft’s in the T34 100m. Last month she lost her first race in 7 years to a 14 year old opponent, and so there was pressure on to regain her form. However if she felt this she didn’t let it show, winning gold on the opening day of the competition. She then went on to get her second gold of the competition, winning the T34 800m a few days later. This event was a clean sweep for Great Britain, with compatriots Mel Nicholls and Kare Adenegan joining Cockroft on the medal podium.

There was an inspirational story in another of the women’s 100m, this time in the T37 classification. Earlier this year Kadeena Cox, with a blossoming athletics career ahead of her, suffered a stroke and was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. However, this did not prevent her from competing. She has now entered the world of Para-athletics, and is proving to be a significant talent. She broke the world record in her qualifying heat before winning the gold medal in the final. Compatriot Georgie Hermitage came in second.

GB captain Paul Blake retained his world title in the 800m, after winning second in the T36 400m          Photo: Athletics Weekly

The GB team captain Paul Blake has also added to the medal tally. He won silver in the T36 400m, and then defended his 800m title a couple of days later, adding another gold medal to his collection. Andrew Whitehead also won gold in the T42 200m, winning his third world title in a row.

Britain has not just succeeded on track, with Jo Butterfield winning the T51 club throw, despite only starting the sport 18 months ago. Aled Davies has also had an excellent games, winning gold in the F42 shot-put and discus, even beating his own world record in the latter event.

Popular face David Weir had not competed since his success at London 2012, with Doha his first appearance since the games due to injury. In the T54 1,500m he won silver, and considering that it was his first competitive race in a long time, was a remarkable achievement. However, the 5,000m race was much more of a disappointment for Weir. He finished in 7th place, falling out of contention during the last lap. However despite this, he is still confident for Rio next year. In an interview with BBC Sport he stated: “I will be back and fighting fit for the start of next season…I can’t win everything but I will bounce back and win another big race.”

Great Britain currently lie in fourth place in the medal table with 10 golds, on par with the United States, and just behind Russia and China. With the competition nearly at an end this is a respectable position to be in, but hopefully Britain can add a few more medals to their tally before they leave Doha.

Nancy Gillen 

Featured image: Athletics Weekly 

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