Peacock, Whitehead & Davies Strike Gold in Lyon
Jonnie Peacock (coach: Steve Fudge), Richard Whitehead (Keith Antoine) and Aled Davies (Anthony Hughes) added gold medal number seven and eight and nine for GB & NI on day four of the IPC World Athletics Championships in Lyon.
After American counterpart Richard Browne broke Peacock’s world record in the semi-finals of the T44 100m yesterday, all eyes were on the Paralympic champion to deliver in the final as he did last summer at London 2012. Despite stumbling out his blocks, Peacock powered through in the second half of the race to inflict the same fate on Browne as he did at the Games, with only two hundredths of a second separated the two athletes.
Peacock, who clocked 10.99, admitted he was somewhat relieved to win the race: “I’m probably the luckiest guy in the world, because I shouldn’t have won like that. At the end of the day it’s about getting through the rounds and the final. It doesn’t matter what you run in the rounds, you’ve got to run it in the final. It’s about positions not times in championships.
“I’ve been capable of going quick for a while now, but I’ve had no one pushing me. Now I’ve got someone putting pressure on me, which is fantastic for Paralympic sport. There was definitely a bit of pressure leading into the race, but in all honesty I’ve always been capable of those times. The final should have been a lot quicker than that, but we’ve got the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games on Sunday to put that straight.”
After a convincing victory in yesterday’s semi-final, Whitehead’s was made to work harder for the win in the final. The GB & NI captain was matched pace for pace by Australia’s Scott Reardon, but came through strongly in the latter stages to retain his world title in a time of 24.95.
“It’s been a long two years really. This has been a culmination of lots of training on the track – yesterday I put out that fantastic performance, but conditions were tough today. For a double leg amputee the wind was tough, I had to scoop through the win – single leg amputees are biomechanically able to run better. That last 30 metres was about guts and determination as I’ve been suffering with a quad injury after breaking one of my blades last week, but I dug in deep and believed in myself,” said the 37 year old, part of the GB & NI team sponsored by Sainsbury’s.
“It’s about believing in yourself and not letting the team around you down. Keith Antoine has put a lot of his own personal time in, as has Liz Yelling and Tim Stevenson so those along with family and friends were the ones shouting for me.
“That was for my daughter Zarah and fiancé Val, who I’m sure were screaming at the TV with my mum and dad. That’s one of the toughest things I’ve done on the track – sometimes when energy levels are at zero, you’ve got to pull a performance out of nowhere.”
Davies became a double world champion winning the F42 discus saving his best throw until last. The 22 year old’s final round throw of 47.62m was enough to secure victory by over six metres. Despite leaving his furthest throws to his last two attempts, the 22 year old, who won the F42 shot put on Saturday, was pleased to come away with another gold medal.
“I'm happy - I'm a double world champion with two golds so I can't complain. But I left my performance today to the last minute so that frustrated me a bit. But a win is a win and I'll take that.
“I knew I had a good performance in me. That's the difference between now and London, coming into Lyon I knew what I was capable of doing. So coming in here I knew I could throw 15m in the shot, in training I have done. Same with the discus: I know I can throw 50m so I know there is a big one there. But I'm just happy that I can pull out big performances on the big stage, that's what it's all about.”
Jade Jones (Ian Thompson, Tanni Grey-Thompson) finished in eighth place in the T54 800m final and the 17 year old believes that she has given a good account of herself after making her second successive final.
“It was a tough race, but I guess I just wasn't fast enough on the day. I came to make the finals, which is what I’ve done and a lot of the others have been racing a lot of year longer than I've been born. You actually learn a lot from it so I'm just glad to be here and glad I made the final.”
After winning T12 200m silver, Libby Clegg (Keith Antoine) looked every bit as impressive as she cruised through to the semi-final of the T12 100m in first place, while Lee Whiteley (Keith Hunter) recorded an area record of 23.20 to ensure his progress to the T38 200m final.
Graeme Ballard (Steve Thomas) made it through to the T36 200m final as the second fastest qualifier recording a season’s best of 25.25, while teammate Ben Rushgrove (Rob Ellchuk) will also line-up in the race tomorrow afternoon.
Stef Reid (Rana Reider) was just four centimetres off the bronze medal as the London 2012 F44 long jump silver medallist finished in fifth place with a best jump of 4.66m.
Ola Abidogun (Stephen Thomas) finished third in his T46 semi-final in 11.34 and Rhys Jones (Jane Coia) recorded a season’s best of 24.57 to qualify for the T37 200m final.
T38 200m silver medallist Sophie Hahn (Joseph McDonnell) and Olivia Breen (Leroy Elliott) both progressed through to the T38 100m final after coming through their semi-finals clocking 13.25 and 14.75 respectively.
Bethany Woodward (Jared Deacon) and Katrina Hart (Ellchuk) both secured places in the T37 100m final qualifying in fourth and fifth place in their semi-final.
Aled Davies (F42 shot put & discus)
Richard Whitehead (T42 200m)
Jonnie Peacock (T44 100m)
Hannah Cockroft (T34 100m & 200m)
Paul Blake (T36 800m)
Josie Pearson (F51/52/53 discus)
Hollie Arnold (F46 javelin)
Dan Greaves (F44 discus)
Jonathan Broom-Edwards (F42/44 high jump)
Kyron Duke (F41 javelin)
Libby Clegg (T12 200m)
Bethany Woodward (T37 200m)
Sophie Hahn (T38 200m)
Graeme Ballard (T36 100m)
Kyron Duke (F41 shot put)
GB & NI lie in third place in the medal standings behind USA and Russia