There was silver success for both the T35-38 4x100m relay team and Richard Whitehead (coach: Keith Antoine) as the ParalympicsGB athletics team extended its medal tally to 27 overall.
The team of Kadeena Cox (Brian Scobie), Maria Lyle (Tabo Huntley), Georgie Hermitage (Paul MacGregor) and Sophie Hahn (Joe McDonnell) set a personal best on their way to the silver medal, only beaten by a world record from the Chinese quartet. The British team had previously run 51.63 at the IPC Athletics European Championships in June, but took a significant chunk off that mark in the Estadio Olimpico, lowering their best to 51.07.
The team showed a series of flawless changeovers, which put them in contention for the gold medal, but despite the best efforts of Hahn, who earlier won the T38 100m, they were just pipped to the line by the world-record breaking Chinese team.
Cox, who now has three athletics medals of each colour to her name, alongside cycling gold from these Games said: “It was great to run with these girls. We are a team of five and we have all worked hard this year. So to be brought in and do the team proud makes me so happy. It’s been a crazy Games for me and I can now try and take it all in and appreciate what I have achieved.”
16 year-old Maria Lyle who bagged her second medal in two days commented: “I’m buzzing – I don’t know about the other girls but when I watched the British relay (4x100m) medal at the Olympics that just made me want to race here so much. We have done our best; we couldn’t have done anymore today. We’ll certainly be going for that gold in London next year on home ground.
Hermitage, who added silver to her T37 100m and 400m gold commented: “I am so proud to be a part of this team. It’s not just us four, we have Olivia (Breen) as well and we are all one team. We’ve trained really hard for this – we’ve got the PB, you can only ask for that. It’s a lovely way to end a brilliant Games.”
She added: “What the Chinese don’t know is they have awoken a sleeping dragon for the 2017 World Championships and we will be going out there to win gold.”
Hahn, also a double Paralympic medallist said: “I’m just so delighted – it has been an amazing Games. These girls are incredible and we are very lucky to be representing our country. Hopefully we have done everyone proud and we can come away with the gold next year. I’m looking forward to experiencing that home crowd spirit.”
Whitehead (Keith Antoine) stormed through over the final 30 metres to snatch a silver medal, which he shared with Denmark’s Daniel Wagner as the two could not be separated after the photo finish. The 200m champion got into his stride at the halfway mark accelerating towards the line with venom but could not quite catch the champion Scott Reardon of Australia. His time was 12.32 (-0.2) as he earned a second trip to the podium in Rio.
After picking up his second medal of the Games, he said: “It’s a silver in an event that is not my favourite. I’m not from a sprint background so going from a marathon to a 100m, some would have said was impossible. I’m on the right path and have made some great strides this year on my starts and that’s all down to the work that myself, Keith Antoine, Dave Jackson and Tim Stevenson have put together. We’ve technically got better but even evaluating that race over the last couple of minutes, I know there is still a lot more to be done in the future.
“When Paula asked me to be captain, I thought it was a great responsibility alongside being an athlete as well. For me I’ve got to be pleased with how I executed my races – I’ve retained my 200m title and got a medal in the 100m. I’ve had four races on point; two of them under great pressure. I’m pretty tired now and am looking forward to getting home and seeing my family to enjoy the success with them.”
After recording a personal best in the heats last night, Laura Sugar (Femi Akinsanya) was just outside it this time around in 28.31 as she finished fifth in the T44 200m. The sprinter only became a full-time athlete this year after giving up teaching in the pursuit of competing in Rio, and she certainly delivered in an event in which she was ranked eighth coming in.
In the F41 discus, Holly Neill (Andrew Roda) threw her best effort in round three, 23.13m the mark. This put her inside the top eight, thus providing her with three more opportunities. However, there was no further improvement and the Yeovil-based athlete ended the competition in eighth place.
ParalympicsGB Athletics medal tally: (27)
Hollie Arnold – F46 Javelin
Jo Butterfield – F51 Club Throw
Libby Clegg & Chris Clarke – T11 100m and 200m
Kadeena Cox – T38 400m
Hannah Cockroft – T34 100m and 400m
Aled Davies – F42 Shot Put
Sophie Hahn – T38 100m
Georgie Hermitage – T37 100m and 400m
Jonnie Peacock – T44 100m
Richard Whitehead – T42 200m
Kare Adenegan – T34 100m
Jonathan Broom-Edwards – T44 High Jump
Toby Gold – T33 100m
Stef Reid – T44 long jump
Richard Whitehead – T42 100m
Women’s T35-38 4x100m relay – (Kadeena Cox, Maria Lyle, Georgie Hermitage and Sophie Hahn)
Kare Adenegan – T34 400m
Kadeena Cox – T38 100m
Gemma Prescott – F32 club throw
Sabrina Fortune – F20 shot put
Stephen Miller – F32 Club Throw
Andrew Small – T33 100m
David Henson – T42 200m
Maria Lyle – T35 100m