Four gold medals were won during the evening session on day two, including one bronze to add to two medals earlier in the day, as the ParalympicsGB’s medal tally continued to grow.
Jonnie Peacock (coach: Dan Pfaff) retained his T44 100m title in phenomenal style, burning up the track to win the gold medal in 10.81 (+0.1), and in the process keeping hold of that Paralympic title for another four years. At London 2012, the 23 year old burst onto the scene as a teenager, still new to the biggest stage but he showed his experience in Rio to deliver one of the most stunning moments of the night on the track.
Powering away from the field, Peacock oozed class and left the likes of Jarryd Wallace trailing far behind. Afterwards, the delighted gold medallist said: “It’s still not sunk in. It’s a mixture of emotions, relief along with ecstasy, I can’t quite believe it. I just tried to stay focus as much as I could and not think about the possibilities of ‘what ifs.’ I tightened up at the end which I always seem to do at championships, but I got the gold medal, which I always seem to do at championships.
“It’s absolutely awesome – I think that’s the most pressure I’ve felt today. It’s not about myself, it was about the three that had won gold medals. Then there was me, last on for GB with the possibility of getting another, I didn’t want to let them down. During my warm-up, I was sat in the starting blocks and Georgie’s (Hermitage) national anthem was playing, it just gives you a little lift and you just want to be a part of that success.”
Georgie Hermitage (Paul MacGregor) won her first ever Paralympic gold medal in style, smashing her previous world record with a time of 13.13 (+1.6). After bursting out of the blocks, she was put under pressure by her French opponent Mandy Francois-Elie early on but the multiple world and European champion showed her class as she swept away the field in record time.
An emotional Hermitage said afterwards: “I am a Paralympic gold medallist, it is an amazing feeling. I couldn’t have asked for more today. I was worrying so much in warm-up and call room, I am such an over thinker but I’ve won on the biggest stage and I’m delighted. To win the gold today is such a relief and shows all the hard work has paid off.”
For the 27 year-old, it has been a remarkable journey as she was pregnant during the last Paralympic Games with her daughter Tilly, but she now has a gold medal to take home for her three year old. However, she hoped she wasn’t still awake to watch her triumph in Rio.
“She better not be she should be in bed. I have a photo of her with me when I’m racing so she is always with me. I was pregnant when I watched the 2012 Games so this has been a great journey to this point.”
Libby Clegg (Joe McDonnell) and her guide runner Chris Clarke earned a stunning gold medal in the T11 100m, winning by just 0.02 seconds ahead of their Chinese rivals in 11.96 (+0.8), but it was an eventful day for the 2012 silver medallist. Having earlier set a world record of 11.91 in the semi-finals, only to be provisionally disqualified before a successful appeal, Clegg went into the race knowing she had the quality to win her first Paralympic title.
The duo combined expertly working in harmony, and held off the fierce opposition including home favourite Terezinha Guilhermina, to take her first title with Clarke since they started working together earlier this year.
Clegg said: “It’s been a bit of a whirlwind of a day – obviously I set the world record this morning, then I got disqualified, so it’s been a tough day. It’s been a bit exhausting but it is good to end on a high, although I am a bit shell shocked. I’m sure it will hit me in a few days what I have achieved, although maybe it can wait until after the 200m though.
“It has been an incredible experience and the crowd has been absolutely amazing, and it is great to be a part of these Games. I’m really excited for the 200m now, we had a great run at the IPC Grand Final in London so hopefully we can replicate it again.”
Her guide Clarke added: I’m over the moon and delighted for Libby. I know how much hard work she has put in this year and I’m just glad I could be a part of that awesome journey. I was thrown in the deep end being a guide runner but I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way, I’ve really enjoyed it.
In a medal filled session, 19 year-old Sophie Hahn (Joe McDonnell) captured a memorable victory in the T38 100m, taking her first Paralympic title four years after being inspired to take up the sport after the 2012 Games.
Hahn burst out of the blocks and faced a fierce contest with Brazilian home favourite Veronica Hipolito, who pushed the Briton all the way but the 19 year-olds quality shone through as she equalled her Paralympic record set yesterday of 12.62 (+0.6). Cox took the bronze in a time of 13.01, narrowly outside her personal best, but it was the start of a busy week for the Yorkshire-born athlete who is also competing in cycling at the Games.
Hahn commented: “It’s unbelievable – to be watching on TV in London and then four years later to be Paralympic champion it’s incredible. There’s been a lot of hard work, tears that have gone into the last few years and it’s all paid off, so I’m really happy.
“It’s amazing to have my mum and dad here and looking forward to seeing them after as they’ve been a great support to me.”
Cox added: “It’s a great feeling; I didn’t expect to be in this position a couple of weeks ago. To be here and to take a medal in a really good field of girls, I’m over the moon.
“It’s given me a great deal of confidence that my planning and preparation has gone well. I know that I’m in good shape now and that I can do some damage to the girls out here. I’m really looking forward to it (the rest of the Paralympic Games) and I hope to make the history I set out to make. I’ve just got to be thankful to all the people around me – the National Lottery, the support team, physiologists, psychologists because without them the process wouldn’t be possible at all.”
Olivia Breen (Jonas Tawiah-Dodoo) was seventh in a time of 13.41, and still has the 200m, long jump and 4x100m relay to come this week.
2012 Paralympic T53 100m champion Mickey Bushell (Jenny Archer) had to settle for sixth this time around, which is a triumphant result after a few tricky years with illness and injury since that famous win in London. In a race won by Paralympic silver medallists’ Stef Reid’s husband Brent Lakatos, Bushell finished in 15.09.
Earlier in the day, Stef Reid (Aston Moore) won silver in the T44 Long Jump and Gemma Prescott (Mike Wood) took home the bronze medal in the F32 Club Throw.
Paralympics GB Athletics medal tally: (7)
Libby Clegg & Chris Clarke – T11 100m – Gold
Sophie Hahn – T38 100m Gold
Georgie Hermitage – T37 100m Gold
Jonnie Peacock – T44 100m Gold
Stef Reid – T44 Long Jump Silver
Kadeena Cox – T38 100m Bronze
Gemma Prescott – F32 Club Throw Bronze