But­ter­field claims medal in Doha, and sets sights firmly on Olympics

The Herald - Sport - - GYMNASTICS, ATHLETICS - MARK WOODS

LESS than 12 months out from Rio, Jo But­ter­field has af­firmed her­self as a con­tender to ex­cel at the Par­a­lympic Games, barely three years af­ter her ath­let­ics initiation. And the Glaswe­gian can now set her sights on rolling onto the podium in Brazil af­ter pick­ing up her sec­ond medal at the IPC World Cham­pi­onships in Doha last night.

Match­ing her own stated am­bi­tions, the 36-year-old took bronze in the F52 dis­cus with a Euro­pean record of 8.96m me­tres with her fi­nal at­tempt as Amer­i­can ri­val Rachael Mor­ri­son land­ing the ti­tle by ex­tend­ing her own world record to 12.86m. Hon­ours even. But­ter­field will still re­turn as a cham­pion af­ter her gold in the club throw last week­end. Yet in the game of cause and ef­fect, her suc­cess – and the vis­i­bil­ity of Rio 2016 – might en­cour­age the next gen­er­a­tion of dis­abled kids into sport, spurred by see­ing what might be ac­com­plished and what ad­ven­tures may lie in store.

“I re­mem­ber af­ter the Euro­pean Cham­pi­onships, go­ing out to see some kids, show­ing them my medal,” she said. “One of them was telling their mum who I was. He turned around to me and said: ‘I want to be in a wheelchair just like you.’ That wasn’t quite the mes­sage I was try­ing to get over. But it shows that it’s not seen in a neg­a­tive way. They just see the GB vest and a medal and that’s great.”

Else­where, T53 200m bronze medal­list Sammi Kinghorn will re­turn from Qatar em­bold­ened af­ter end­ing her cham­pi­onships with sev­enth place in the 800m fi­nal. The 19-year-old Bor­derer set a per­sonal best of 1:54:67 and was less than a sec­ond be­hind race win­ner, Madi­son de Rozario of Aus­tralia.

“It gives me a lot of con­fi­dence be­cause com­ing out here I was re­ally ner­vous,” the teen ad­mit­ted. “I was think­ing I was go­ing to be left at the start and didn’t think I’d even get in the pack, so I’m re­ally chuffed I man­aged to get in there. I hon­estly thought they were go­ing to kick and I’d be 50m be­hind them but I wasn’t which gives me a lot of buzz to carry on.”

Reach­ing four fi­nals here is a plat­form on which to build for the Euro­pean cham­pion, who might opt to con­cen­trate her en­er­gies come next sum­mer and tar­get the medals that of­fer the short­est odds. “I’ve been on ev­ery day and some morn­ings since the start,” she said. “I’ve had the best ex­pe­ri­ence ever, it’s been amaz­ing. I was hop­ing that I could get a PB. I was think­ing a cou­ple of mil­lisec­onds here and there to drop to 1:55, but a 1:54, I’m ab­so­lutely over the moon.”

In other events, Richard White­head, with a world record of 24.10 secs, and Dave Hen­son both ad­vanced into to­day’s T42 200m fi­nal while Stephen Os­borne, the old­est man in the Bri­tish team at 52, was fourth in the T51 100 fi­nal.

GO JO: But­ter­field has claimed a gold and a bronze medal for Team GB in Doha

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