The IPC Athletics World Championships took place in Christ Church, New Zeeland from 21-30 January. The competition is the last major event before the much anticipated Paralympic Games next year. Great Britain and Northern Ireland sent a 40 strong team and picked up an impressive 38 medals.
T54 wheelchair racer David Weir has grabbed most of the headlines, as he picked up no less than 3 gold medals over 800m, 1500m and 5000m, each time beating the world record holder to the top spot!
T36 runner, Paul Blake, also collected 3 medals, with gold over 400m and silver over 800m and 1500m respectively. On the female side, Katrina Hart, T37 also grabbed 3 medals, racing to victory over 200m and clinching bronzes over 100m and in the 4x100m relay. T36 sprinter, Hazel Robson was part of the relay team too and won a silver individual medal over 100m. Another member of the podium relay team was T37 Bethy Woodward who powered to gold over one lap of the track.
Demonstrating age is just a number, 40 year old T11 sprinter Tracey Hinton came away with 2 medals with a silver over 400m and a bronze in the 200m. Another great visually impaired performance was by T12 Libby Clegg who showed the world she was number 1 over 100m and took bronze in the 200m. For the VI guys, David Devine managed to secure a bronze in the T12 800m.
More gold success was delivered by T34 teenager Hannah Cockroft who pushed her way to the top of the podium in both the 100m and 200m. T53 wheelchair racer, Mickey Bushell claimed a silver and bronze in the same events. Finally on the wheelchair racing front, T54 Shelly Woods came third in the 5000m.
The youngest member of the GB and NI team, Sally Brown at just 15 years old came a well deserved third in the T46 200m to win bronze. Bronze medals over the same distance also went to T44 Stef Reid and T36 Ben Rushgrove. Both became multi medallists, as Stef jumped to bronze in the F44/46 long jump, whilst Ben picked up silver over 100m. T35 Sofia Warner, matched Ben’s medal colours, but got a bronze over 100m and silver over 200m. Rounding off the gold rush on the track, T42 double leg amputee Richard Whitehead stormed to glory over 200m.
There was also great success on the field, with the most outstanding performance by F44 discus thrower Dan Greaves who not only won gold, but broke the world record in the process. In the same event, Bev Jones won silver in the F37 equivalent and Aled Davies, bronze in the F42 class.
In the javelin, F57/8 gold was grabbed by Nathan Stephens. Fellow Welshman, Kiren Duke also picked up bronze in the F40 class. Ensuring the girls were represented in the event, F46 thrower, Holly Arnold claimed bronze.
On the opening day of the games, F34 Dan West took silver in the shot. Finally, in the club throw, an event unique to Paralympic sport, both Jemma Prescott and veteran Stephen Miller threw their way into bronze position in the F31/32/51 classification.
Overall, the GB and NI team had an amazing games, but how can anyone write about Paralympic sport without the mention of the blade runner, South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius! The all-mighty 24 year old didn’t have things all his way, as a breath taking T44 100m saw him miss out on gold by a thousandth of a second in a shock defeat. However, he tore the field apart over 200m and 400m to claim double gold.