It was a golden start to day eight of the World Para Athletics Championships for the Great Britain and Northern Ireland team as Hannah Cockroft (Jenni Banks; Leeds) triumphed in the women’s T34 800m, while Kare Adenegan (Job King; Coventry) sealed silver.
Cockroft did not have it all her own way, with Adenegan hitting the front on the opening lap, and American Alexa Halko moving away with the British duo. However, on the back straight, she sensed her moment and did not hesitate as she pushed on from her rivals, surging to the finish line in a championship record of 1:57.27.
Cockroft, who now has three T34 800m title to her name, spoke afterwards: “I actually found the race a lot more comfortable than I thought I might. Sometimes you come to a championship feeling like you are focusing on one of your events more than others. This time I didn’t feel like I was focused on either, so I wasn’t sure how they were going to go. The 800m is such a game. It is so tactical, and it is all about playing off the other girls’ strengths.
“I thought, I don’t want to leave this until 100m to go, I knew Kare or Alexa could do anything then. I just needed to get out of a sticky place. My favourite event in the 400m so I knew I could hold the speed a little longer.
“World title number 12 is good, but number 11 was better. I am just happy to be done. It has been such a long season.”
Adding to her 100m silver, Kare Adenegan (Job King; Coventry) produced a phenomenal personal best display, clocking 2:01.32, to narrowly grab the silver ahead of a fast-finishing Halko by 0.03s.
Adenegan, who is now a seven-time world medallist at the age of 18, said: “I feel so happy. I was feeling so nervous coming into the 800m. My 800 metres this season have not been good at all, so I knew I had to go out and stick to my plan. I got a PB so I am really pleased.
“I think it went really well. I had a great start and I felt strong. I tried to keep enough for the last lap. I manged to keep calm and relaxed, and thankfully I managed to hang on.”
On Halko pushing her all the way, she added: “It was scary on the line. I was thinking ‘no, no, no, I’m not letting you pass.’ I really had to work hard in that final 100m and had to keep digging deep.”
Following gold in the T36 800m, Paul Blake (Rob Ellchuk; Dorchester) was fifth in a red-hot T36 400m final. Won in a world record of 51.71 by Australia’s James Turner, the pace was relentless from the gun, and Blake was in contention for bronze coming off the bend. However, New Zealander William Stedman kicked on over the final 100m, and despite Blake’s best efforts, he finished outside the medal places.
After clocking 55.91, Blake reflected: “I wasn’t getting into it. I obviously would have loved to have medalled. I always knew it was going to be tough. The plan was to go through in 26s which I think I was a little slow on. It is just one of those things. I’ll definitely learn from it and come back a lot stronger next year.
“I’ve got two solid races in this week. This one could have gone a bit better bur at the end of the day, I’m pleased with how my races have gone.”
After finishing fourth on her world championships debut two years ago, Martina Barber (Paddy O’Shea; Stevenage & North Herts) was eighth this time around after a consistent series. Her best jump of the competition came in round four when she leapt 5.20 metres following two further efforts over five metres.
On her world championships debut, Anna Nicholson (Richard Kaufman; Gateshead) placed fourth in the F35 shot put. She put 35cm onto her previous best set earlier this year in Paris, throwing out to 8.47 metres in round three.
The north-east athlete said after the competition: “I’m absolutely ecstatic, I couldn’t have asked for any more. There are three of us with very tight personal bests so it was always going to be close between us. I knew I had to relax and do my best.
“I thought the throw was big, but not that big. It just took everything to get it right. That one just clicked.”
In the men’s T35 100m heats, there was swift progression for Jordan Howe (Kevin Williams; DSW Para Academy) as he qualified for the final fourth quickest overall. Going in heat two, he clocked 12.94 (+0.1) for second place to automatically advance to Friday’s final.
Curtailing the morning’s session, the British team lined up for the universal 4x100m relay. The quartet of Libby Clegg (Joe McDonnell; Charnwood) and guide, Tom Somers (Benke Blomkvist; Newham & Essex Beagles), Ola Abidogun (Grant Barker; Horwich), Sophie Hahn (Leon Baptiste; Charnwood) and Mickey Bushell (Rick Hoskins; Birchfield) were second in the first heat in 49.48, but with only the top four quickest teams advancing, unfortunately that was not enough to qualify.
British Athletics Medal Tally (22):
Hollie Arnold – F46 Javelin
Paul Blake – T36 800m
Jonathan Broom-Edwards – T64 High Jump
Hannah Cockroft – T34 100m and 800m
Aled Davies – F63 Shot Put
Sophie Hahn – T38 100m and 200m
Maria Lyle – T35 100m
Kare Adenegan – T34 100m and 800m
Jo Butterfield – F51 Club Throw
Kadeena Cox – T38 400m
Derek Rae – T46 Marathon*
Andrew Small – T33 100m
Thomas Young – T38 100m
Olivia Breen – T38 Long Jump
Richard Chiassaro – T54 400m
Kyron Duke – F41 Shot Put
Harri Jenkins – T33 100m
Sammi Kinghorn – T53 100m
Vanessa Wallace – F34 Shot Put
*The WPA Championship marathons took place at the London Marathon earlier this year.