GB & NI Mark Final Day in Lyon
Shelly Woods (coach: Jenni Banks) was the last athlete in action for GB & NI at the IPC World Athletics Championships as the team finished a successful campaign with a total of 29 medals.
Woods made it to the startline of the T54 marathon battling a viral infection, which ruled her out of the 1500m, and unfortunately succumbed to effects of the illness after 18 miles.
Woods said afterwards: “My heroics for the day was starting the race – it’s a pity I couldn’t finish, but I gave it a good go. I’ve not been well all week and I’ve just tried getting healthy again. If I hadn’t gone out and given it a go, I would never had known.
"I was with the girls for the first 20km and felt good, but on the climbs, I just didn’t have the energy to go with them. I’m proud of myself for starting, but I’ll come back stronger. It’s absolutely fantastic what this team has achieved. There are a lot of youngsters that have come through and it shows since London that the sport has really moved on and become even more competitive.”
The final medal won by GB & NI in Lyon came last night when Erin McBride (Stan Roberts) took the team’s tally up to 29 medals last night. The 15 year old’s bronze medal in T13 400m meant that an impressive six of the eight debutants marked their international bow with medals.
Head Coach Paula Dunn marked her first major international competition in charge and exceeded the medal target of eight gold and 25 medals set by UK Sport. London 2012 champions Hannah Cockroft (Banks), Jonnie Peacock (Steve Fudge), Richard Whitehead (Keith Antoine), Aled Davies (Anthony Hughes) and Josie Pearson (Hughes) all followed up last summer’s heroics winning gold, while Paul Blake (Rob Ellchuk), Sophie Hahn (Joseph McDonnell), Scott Jones (Carolyn Franks) and Hollie Arnold (Hughes) contributed to the 11 gold medals won by GB & NI.
Dunn said: “It’s been a really exciting championships. The experienced athletes have all delivered, which is always essential for a team, but the story from Lyon is the emergence of the young talent coming through. We knew they were good, but there’s a difference between being good on the domestic stage and the international stage. They’ve had the ability to come here, step up on the major stage and I’m very happy for them.”
Dunn will now lead the team into the IPC European Athletics Championships next year in Swansea and believes that the sport is now beginning to reap the rewards from the success of London 2012.
“It’s a million miles different from 2011. There weren’t as many teams or athletes in Christchurch and the depth wasn’t great two years ago either. Here the events have been very competitive - for example Sophie Kamlish (Ellchuk) winning bronze in the 200m, that’s a world-class line-up. The events, depth and numbers have been significantly better and we as a country have been able to compete on the same stage as the guys here. It’s promising, but we can never be complacent and we’re already planning ahead for Swansea, Doha and to Rio in 2016.
“Obviously for next year we’re in a good state. The plan for next year is to select a big team for the Europeans. We’ve still got some talented athletes at home who were too young to make it on this team, and next year is a great opportunity for them to make the step up to the big stage. But as it stands we’re in a very good position moving forwards,” added Dunn.
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)
Sophie Hahn (T38 100m)
Scott Jones (F34 shot put)
Dan Greaves (F44 discus)
Jonathan Broom-Edwards (F42/44 high jump)
Kyron Duke (F41 javelin)
Libby Clegg (T12 100m, 200m)
Bethany Woodward (T37 200m)
Sophie Hahn (T38 200m)
Libby Clegg (T12 100m)
Mickey Bushell (T53 100m)
Paul Blake (T36 400m)
Graeme Ballard (T36 100m)
Kyron Duke (F41 shot put)
Lee Whiteley (T38 200m)
Josie Pearson (F31/32/51 club throw)
Georgina Oliver (T54 100m)
Beverley Jones (F37 discus)