Return of the Blake
Paul Blake (coach: Rob Ellchuk) retained his T36 800m title in devastating fashion leading from start to finish to claim British Athletics’ seventh gold medal of the IPC Athletics World Championships and 15th overall.
However, there were some nervy moments in the closing stages as Russia’s Artem Arefyev nearly pipped the reigning world champion on the line. Blake, who beat his rival in Lyon two years ago, took the plaudits once against clocking a season’s best of 2:06.89 to claim the third world championship gold of his career.
The seven-time world medallist said afterwards:
“It was pretty tough – my aim was to go out in 63 seconds, I did that and I hoped to carry that on to the next lap. I was a little bit slower on the second lap, but that doesn’t matter because I wasn’t bothered about the time. I was more concerned about winning.
“I was going to let Artem (Arefyev) lead, but he decided not to take it up, so I thought I’d do the front running. The last 50m was all about relaxing, not tightening up and carrying my speed all the way through to the finish and not to stop before the line.”
The joint team captain of the British team was delighted after winning silver in the 400m earlier in the championships.
“It’s an absolute sigh of relief more than anything – it’s an absolute honour to regain my title. I’ve worked really hard for it this season, so to retain my title is amazing.”
Having already won two silver medals in the 1500m and marathon, David Weir (Jenny Archer) returned to the track in the T54 5000m final, coming home in seventh. Thailand’s Rawat Tana, who the T54 1500m on Saturday once again showed his dominant form to take the title but the ‘Weir-Wolf’ was satisfied with his performances in Doha.
After posting a time of 10:57.46, Weir commented:
“Just to get a medal here, I am happy with that. It’s just one of those things, you can’t win everything and I’ve just realised it’s jumped another level since 2012. The speed I hit today, I would have won a gold medal, but I wasn’t in the right position and that was it.
“It feels amazing (to be back in the British vest) and it’s been amazing to be here and be part of the team and Great Britain, which is always a pleasure. I just love every moment of it and to get on the track and come away with a medal, I’m happy.”
Ben Rowlings (Job King) grabbed fourth spot again, this time in the T34 800m final, narrowly outside a place on the podium. It was a valiant effort from the Coventry athlete who clocked a time of 1:47.23 behind the champion Walid Ktila of Turkey. Isaac Towers (Peter Wyman) was sixth in 1:48.90, a second world final for the Lancashire athlete.
In the F32 club throw, Stephen Miller (Ros Miller) had to settle for fourth as Russia’s Vladislav Frolov took the gold in a world record distance of 35.94m. Miller, who’s competed at his first IPC Athletics World championships in 1998, launched a throw out to 29.65m in the third round but it was not quite enough to get into the medal positions.
Compatriot Thomas Green (Kenneth Green), appearing at his first IPC Athletics World Championships, finished sixth with a best of 25.96m in the first round.
Zac Shaw (Peter Gifford) achieved a lifetime best of 22.88 in the T13 200m, finishing sixth to go alongside his sixth place finish in the 100m. These championships have been a coming of age for the 20 year-old and after reaching two world finals on his international debut, he is focused on improving with Rio 2016 and London 2017 on the horizon.
As the only T51 athlete in the T52 100m final, Kylie Grimes (Jenni Banks) knew she faced a tough task but is hopeful competing in the event in Doha will encourage more 51 athletes to take up racing at future championships. Grimes, also a debutant finished fourth overall in 35.87 to bring her championships to a close.
Sammi Kinghorn (Ian Mirfin) progressed to the T53 800m final as a fastest qualifier after crossing the line fourth in her semi-final. However, her time (1:58.30) was quick enough to confirm her place in her fourth world final tomorrow evening.
British Athletics' medal tally at the IPC Athletics World Championships (15):
Gold (7): Paul Blake (T36 800m), Jo Butterfield (F51 club throw), Hannah Cockroft (T34 100m), Kadeena Cox (T37 100m), Aled Davies (F42 shot put), Sophie Hahn (T38 100m), Georgie Hermitage (T37 400m)
Silver (5): Paul Blake (T36 400m), Georgie Hermitage (T37 100m), Maria Lyle (T35 200m), David Weir (T54 1500m & Marathon)
Bronze (3): Abbie Hunnisett (F32 club throw), Mo Jomni (T53 200m), Sammi Kinghorn (T53 200m)