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