Lon­don to launch twin bid for para worlds

Sprinter beats own world best on night of glory Shot put­ter Davies sig­nals Com­mon­wealth in­tent

The Sunday Telegraph - Sport - - Front Page - By Gareth A Davies at the Lon­don Sta­dium

A pow­er­ful bid to stage the World Para Ath­let­ics Cham­pi­onships in the UK in 2019 and 2021, with plans for the Para World Swim­ming Cham­pi­onships to take place at the Aquat­ics Cen­tre at the Olympic Park at the same time as ath­let­ics in 2021 is be­ing drawn up with the back­ing of spon­sors and gov­ern­ment.

It is likely that UK Sport back­ing will also be nec­es­sary through their ‘ma­jor events’ fund­ing. Af­ter the most suc­cess­ful World Para Ath­let­ics Cham­pi­onships in his­tory, it is un­der­stood by The Sun­day Tele­graph that An­drew Parsons, the par­a­lympic move­ment’s vi­cepres­i­dent, is en­thu­si­as­tic about the cham­pi­onships re­turn­ing to Lon­don. Pos­si­bly twice more.

Parsons, who is Brazil­ian, is the favourite of four can­di­dates to be elected in as the new pres­i­dent of the IPC next month. Tonight, in a clos­ing ad­dress, af­ter 10 days of com­pe­ti­tion, Parsons is ex­pected to say that the IPC is “hun­gry for more” from Bri­tain, and that the Par­a­lympic Move­ment “con­sid­ers Bri­tain as home”.

Craig Spence, the IPC’s spokesper­son, added yes­ter­day that “there is no host city con­tract cur­rently signed for 2019; ob­vi­ously this event has gone bet­ter than any other world cham­pi­onships and if Lon­don wishes to bid for this event for 2019, then we would cer­tainly con­sider it, and take it very very se­ri­ously.” The IPC World Aquat­ics Cham­pi­onships does not yet have a home for 2021, ei­ther.

Penny Mor­daunt, Min­is­ter for Dis­abled Peo­ple, all but gave the green light for gov­ern­ment sup­port for an­other chap­ter in Lon­don, or at least the UK. The Min­is­ter told The Sun­day Tele­graph: “The qual­ity of the stag­ing and sup­port mean we are a world leader in such events.”

With over 280,000 tick­ets sold, these cham­pi­onships, com­mer­cially and in spec­ta­tor terms, are the most suc­cess­ful by a huge mar­gin over.

“It makes to­tal sense if we come back,” said triple gold medal win­ning wheel­chair racer Han­nah Cock­croft. “No one or­gan­ises para sport like Bri­tain does.”

This was the most su­per of Satur­days for the Bri­tish para ath­letes at the Lon­don Sta­dium, an evening filled with medals and records.

So­phie Hahn broke her own world record as she took the T38 100m ti­tle, leav­ing com­pa­triot Kadeena Cox in sec­ond. Ge­orgina Her­mitage, who al­ready had the 400m ti­tle, broke the cham­pi­onship record held by Cox to win the T37 100m.

And, in the field, the gi­ant Welsh shot put­ter Aled Davies, com­plete with his leather-bound leg brace that looks like some­thing that might be favoured in the spe­cial­ist night clubs of Soho, de­mol­ished his own world record.

Those were not the only records that went. Be­fore the start of the evening’s ac­tion, the Bri­tish team had drawn level with the medal per­for­mance at Doha in the last World Cham­pi­onships.

In an as­ton­ish­ing 60-minute bul­lion snatch, they ac­cu­mu­lated a flurry of medals that places them well ahead of their pre­vi­ous best tally with a day’s com­pe­ti­tion yet to come.

With tem­per­a­tures more Oc­to­ber than July, and pud­dles pock­mark­ing the track, the charge be­gan with the women’s T38 100m fi­nal. There was al­ways a hope that medals would come from here, as the three Bri­tons on the start line were al­ready win­ners: Hahn had the 200m ti­tle on her CV, Olivia Breen had won the long jump and Cox, the se­rial win­ner from Rio, took the 400m prize on Fri­day night.

How­ever, that win had taken its toll. Cox had been seen mak­ing her way back from the cool-down track be­ing car­ried by mem­bers of her team, her right leg drag­ging be­hind her.

“It’s be­cause of my MS,” she ex­plained. “I get re­ally bad spasms and a 400m doesn’t re­ally help, it pushed me over the bound­ary.” How­ever, there was no sug­ges­tion of her dif­fi­cult buildup as she stood on the line. Grin­ning widely she waved to the size­able crowd fill­ing much of the sta­dium. But, from the mo­ment the gun sounded, she was be­hind the slight fig­ure of Hahn. Her stride pat­tern smooth and easy, Hahn im­me­di­ately put her own world record in jeop­ardy. Three quar­ters of the way through the race she was yards ahead of the rest of the run­ners. And as she crossed the line, she looked at the score­board and broke into a huge smile, punch­ing the air.

“I just caught a glimpse of the clock and saw 12.44. I was ab­so­lutely over the moon.” Cox came in sec­ond, while Breen was just pipped for third by Lindy Ave of Ger­many.

“I think this is the big­gest run I’ve ever per­formed,” added Hahn. “It felt amaz­ing and the crowd here re­ally moved me along.” Forty min­utes af­ter Hahn had crossed the line, Ge­orgina Her­mitage set off in the 100m T37. The for­mer able-bod­ied run­ner from Guild­ford holds world records at 100, 200 and 400. She was slow out of the blocks but, with a de­ter­mined dis­play, was soon oblig­ing the rest of the field to look at the tat­toos on her shoul­ders. She crossed the line in 13.36, a cham­pi­onship record. Her first re­ac­tion was to run to the sec­tion of the crowd where her four-year-old daugh­ter was wait­ing, wav­ing a union flag.

“That’s the big­gest crowd I have per­formed in front of,” Her­mitage said. “The roar was un­be­liev­able. At the mo­ment, it seems Lon­don is the only place that pulls the crowds and we need to get this on a global scale.”

The roar was in full voice as the mas­sive fig­ure of Aled Davies cel­e­brated his vic­tory mo­ments later in the shot put. Davies threw 17.52m to take the ti­tle by sev­eral me­tres.

Not only did that smash his own world record of 16.13m, his was the third long­est throw by any Bri­tish ath­lete this year, able-bod­ied or not. It can only pique his am­bi­tion to rep­re­sent Wales in the 2022 Com­mon­wealth Games.

“I wanted to show I’m in a league above any­one else,” said Davies. “It’s over­whelm­ing.” How­ever, not ev­ery­thing ended in such suc­cess for the Bri­tish team. In the 100m T36, the be­spec­ta­cled Graeme Bal­lard fin­ished fourth and Paul Blake sixth be­hind the win­ner Yifei Yang of China. In the T38 1500m fi­nal, Jack Glad­man 20, fin­ished ninth in what was his ma­jor cham­pi­onship de­but. Lost in the pack, the boy­ish 20-year-old was well be­hind the win­ner, world record holder Deon Ken­zie of Aus­tralia.

“My laces came un­done and it turned from my dream race into a night­mare,” he said. Mean­while in the T20 800m for those with in­tel­lec­tual im­pair­ment, Steve Mor­ris fin­ished fifth, af­ter lead­ing for much of the way and James Hamil­ton sixth.

At the dou­ble: So­phie Hahn cel­e­brates break­ing her own world record in the T38 100m fi­nal, right, while Ge­orgina Her­mitage crosses the line to take first place in the T37 100m, left

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