The World Para Athletics Championships took place at the Olympic Stadium in London from the 14th-23rd of July with a number of excellent performances from Welsh Athletes.
Hollie Arnold (David Parker) was the first Welsh athlete to compete at the World Para Athletics Championships on Saturday (15th July) night, the reigning Paralympic Champion competed in the F46 Javelin final. It was a phenomenal evening for the two-time World Champion who broke her Championship record twice before breaking her own world record with a final throw of 43.02 metres to retain her title. Hollie had this to say after the event:
“That was a fantastic series for me. I went out there to smash it and I did,”
“It was great to get the world record; I knew that fourth throw was close but I wasn’t sure if I’d got it. The support of the crowd was absolutely amazing - I'm really delighted.”
Aled Davies (Ryan Spencer Jones) was next up on Sunday (16th July) morning to compete in the F42 Discus men’s final. The Cardiff AAC athlete already had a Paralympic title to his name from 2012 and the Cardiff based athlete returned to the Olympic stadium with his eyes firmly on gold. It was a huge throw of 51.54 metres in the second round which not only clinched the victory but It also set a new championship record. This was an impressive performance and what’s even more impressive is that this is Aled’s third F42 World Discus title to his name. This is what Aled had to say after the event:
“I think this is what it’s all about; first of all I’d like to thank everyone for coming out – I wouldn’t have been able to put that performance together without you,”
“If you’re out there with five guys, you’re in the same boat and anything can happen, but I know on my day what I’m capable of throwing”
“I’ve been here so many times and this stadium holds so many special memories. It was a Sunday five years ago that I won gold here at the Paralympic Games, so to come out here and do it all again is amazing”
F42 Shot Put
Aled Davies (Ryan Spencer Jones) returned to the Olympic stadium on less than a week after winning his third F42 Discus World title, this time the Cardiff AAC athlete was competing in the F42 Shot Put final. Aled is already the World Record holder for both the F42 Discus and Shot Put so he went into the final as the firm favorite for the Gold Medal. It was a huge second round throw of 17.52 metres which not only put him a significant distance ahead of the other competitors but also beat his own world record by 12 cm’s. it’s safe to say it was an outstanding championship for Aled who left the Olympic Stadium with two World Titles, a Championship record and a World Record. Aled had this to say after receiving his medal:
“No offence to Rio, but this, for me, was bigger than Rio,”
“I told my coach at the start of the year that I wanted to throw a PB and a world record and win gold in front of the home crowd, and I did it.
“As soon as that second throw left my fingers I knew that I'd done it. I've been working so hard and I am so happy to be able to throw a world record. Everyone knows how hard I've worked. “
T38 Long Jump
Olivia Breen (Aston Moore) was the next Welsh athlete competing at the Championships, the City of Portsmouth AC athlete competed in her first event which was the T38 Women’s Long Jump Final on Monday (17th July) morning. Breen lead from the off with opening jumps of 4.61 and 4.72 metres before a huge jump in the fourth round. The crowd was behind her all the way as she extended her lead by 0.21 metres with a jump of 4.81 metres to take the title. It was a huge moment for Olivia and she had this to say after her win:
“I have been jumping really well this year and it really has been my best season ever,”
“I knew what I needed to do, and I’ve put all the hard work in so I was just telling myself to get the job done. I knew I had it in me to win gold; I always give 100% so I am over the moon to do it; it has all come together at the right time.”
“My family and friends are here today so it is amazing to share this moment with them. I want to say a big thank you to my coach Aston Moore who has been amazing and helped me improve my jumping – the other coaches I’ve worked with were great and really pushed me on too.”
T38 100m Final
Weather conditions were not ideal for the T38 100m final with a downpour of rain over the Olympic stadium. It was a close finish with Britain just being denied a 1-2-3 as Olivia Breen (Aston Moore) was just pipped at the line for the bronze medal. It was still a strong performance from Olivia who had already taken the T38 Long Jump final on the Monday morning, this what she had to say afterwards:
“It was good. I had a good start but it could have been better. Obviously, being deaf, it’s a bit of a thing (the noise). I am really happy with how I ran. I was relaxed. My coach said: ‘Don’t tense up, just take it in your stride’. And I did that so I can’t really complain. I am happy with how I ran, but it’s a shame about the time, though.
“The crowd were amazing. I was here in 2012 and it’s great to be back and great to have such fantastic support.”
T20 1500m Final
Stephen Morris (James Thie) was in action on Monday (17th July) evening in the T20 1500m final, The Cardiff AAC and DSW athlete went into the final with the potential to make the podium. It was a strong field and Stephen produced a gutsy performance to take the race on from the start to finish 4th overall. Morris was extremely close to making the podium on Monday but that won’t be the last you’ll see of him as he still has the 800m and 5000m left to compete in.
After storming through the 800m heats with an impressive front-running performance, Stephen Morris (James Thie) was in action on Saturday night in a strong field for the T20 800m final. Morris fought hard for a medal but sadly didn’t have the leg speed left to claw back the podium places, it was a 5th place in 1:59.65 for the Cardiff AAC runner. This is what Stephen had to say after his race:
“I have got to go away and work hard next year just to finish in the top three; it’s getting closer every time,”
“My finishing has been lacking this last two years but this has been a good progression ahead of Tokyo.”
Stephen was back in action on Sunday morning in his final event of the championships. The Cardiff AAC athlete fought hard in a strong 5000m final but sadly missed out on the podium after finishing 5th with a time of 15:14.04. This time was a big personal best and also set a new British T20 5000m record which was a silver lining for Morris who had competed in 4 races in a week. Stephen had this to say after his race:
“I was a bit too relaxed out there and I’ve got more in the tank. The plan was to go sub-15 minutes this year or next, and the boys out there are a different class, especially between 1500m and 5000m.
“I think going quicker will come down to having the confidence to go with the field – it’s all a big learning curve for me as I am new to the distance: this is only my second race over 5000m”.
F20 Shot Put
Last year’s Paralympic Bronze medallist Sabrina Fortune (Ian Robinson) was in action on Tuesday (18th July) evening in the F20 Shot Put. The Deeside AAC athlete opened up with a first-round throw of 12.29 metres, her next two throws were 11.85 and 11.96 metres which dropped her down to sixth overall. After the event, Sabrina had this to say:
“I was pleased with the first throw, it was really good but it didn’t go so well after that,” said Fortune.
“It is a fantastic crowd and they made a lot of noise. I am looking forward to Tokyo now; that’s the next big one.”
It was a strong start to the championships for Rhys Jones (Christian Malcolm) who battled it out with South African’s reigning Paralympic champion Charl du Toit to the line, it was a close finish and Rhys achieved a new personal best of 11.69 to finish second and therefore secure his place in Thursday’s (20th Jul) final. This is what Rhys had to say after his performance:
“I wasn’t expecting that. To be honest, when I have run a PB in the past, I’ve been absolutely knackered (afterwards) but today I feel like there is a lot left in the tank. Training has been going well in the build-up.”
After running a personal best of 11.69 seconds in his heat, Rhys went in to the final with a good chance of being in contention for a medal. The field was stacked with Rhys occupying lane 6, it was a strong first half of the race but the medals sadly pulled away towards the end. It was still a strong championship for the DSW athlete who set a new personal best and also improved on his 6th place finish at the Rio Paralympic Games with a 5th place on the world stage. Here’s what Rhys had to say after his race:
“The championships is one I’ll have no regrets on,”
“Obviously I would have loved to have won a medal at a home games, but just coming out here to experience – London was superb five years ago, but this has been on a par – has been special and I wouldn’t change a thing about anything.”
"I got out well – my starts have been going great, but unfortunately I missed three months’ worth of training at the beginning of the year, so to be here and qualify second fastest with a lifetime best; you can’t ask for too much more. It is frightening to think what could have happened had I not got injured for those three months, but I’m here, I’m happy and a healthy.”
F41 Shot Put Final
It was one of the stand-out performances of the championship from Kyron Duke (Anthony Hughes) lead the F41 Shot Put final from the start. The DSW athlete’s first round throw of 12.28 metres put Duke right up there in contention for the gold medal, this would be his furthest throw of the competition and furthermore secured a place on the podium with a Silver medal. This was an impressive performance for Kyron who went one better than his Bronze medal at the 2013 World Championships. This is what he had to say after collecting his medal:
“It was amazing – I can’t ask for anything better”
“I had an injury at the start of the year so I have just concentrated on the one event this year and it has paid off. My first throw was my best throw and the rest of my series was ok. I missed out on the medals in Rio last year so it feels really good to win a world medal, so I am delighted with the silver.”
21 year old Jordan Howe (Christian Malcolm) had to wait till the final day of the championships before he could make his impact at the Olympic stadium. But the wait was certainly worthwhile as the DSW athlete stormed to a second place finish and a new personal best of 12.52 seconds in the T35 100m final. This was a remarkable performance for Jordan who had this to say after collecting his silver medal on Sunday afternoon:
"It was a tough race – me and my coach Christian Malcolm have changed the system this year, he’s a great guy and a great coach. We’ve worked on a lot of things: I know I’ve always had a quick start so it was about building on that with the work we’ve done, and it’s paid off.
“I knew what I had to do – I knew what he (Tsvietov) was going to do, as he’s the fastest in the world and a great athlete; I nearly had him, but congratulations to him”.