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DAVIES AND COCKROFT WIN GOLD ON OPENING DAY IN LYON

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Aled Davies

20 July 2013

Aled Davies (coach: Anthony Hughes) and Hannah Cockroft (Jenni Banks) opened GB & NI’s medal tally by winning gold on the opening day of the IPC World Athletics Championships in Lyon, while Jonathan Broom-Edwards took an impressive silver in the F42/44 high jump.

Davies broke his own world record in the F42 shot put, throwing 14.71m to upgrade from the bronze he won at the Paralympic Games last summer. The 25 year old was delighted with his performance, and now has his sights set on winning another gold in the discus on Tuesday.

“Coming into this, it was my weakest event, but I knew there was a massive throw in me. I really wanted to come here and perform on the big stage, and I also wanted to beat the ex-world record holder (Darko Kralj) – the guy who beat me in London. There were lots of things I needed to prove here, but I’m chuffed to bits with my performance, I can’t ask for any more.

“Discus is my main event and I’m looking again for a performance on Tuesday. If I can throw in excess of 47m, I’ll be happy and the medal will hopefully come with that. I’ve thrown a metre further in this event than I did in London, so I’m hoping to put in a solid performance and lead from the front.”

Cockroft meanwhile defended her first of two world titles in Lyon, as she stormed to victory in the T34 200m final in a championship record time of 31.76. The double Paralympic champion will now look to repeat the feat in the T34 100m final on Monday, and is keen to add another gold medal to her collection.

The 20 year old said: “I’m really happy although I can’t really remember the race. It happened very quickly, and I forgot to react to it when I crossed the line. I’m still processing it, but I’m over the moon – I’m world champion again, just one more to go and then I’m safe for another two years.

I just need to go into the next race the same as this one, a little bit blind because someone could be saving something for the 100m. It’s always good to win gold, but we’re a team and I’m sure there are going to be a lot more medals to come.

Cockroft’s teammate Mel Nicholls (Job King) finished in fifth place in a time of .38.38 and is pleased with the progress she has made since last summer’s Paralympic Games.

“I expected fifth, and I wanted at least fifth. I wanted a little bit better and to be a little bit closer to be honest, but for some reason my pushing just wasn’t there today. I think it was just the nerves of major competition – it was similar in London, I was seventh there and fifth here, so it’s a lot better and what I’ve aimed for all year.”

Jonathan Broom-Edwards (Fuzz Ahmed), one of the debutants on the GB & NI team showed just why he will be one of the ones to watch out for over the next few years, as he picked up silver in the F42/44 high jump with a best clearance of 2.08m.

Reflecting on his international bow, Broom-Edwards said: “I’m ecstatic, it’s such a great feeling to win a medal, and I’ve got what I’ve came for. It took a world record to beat me, but I’ve only been in the sport a short time, so I’ll get him one day.

“I’m in the perfect position – Fuzz (Ahmed) is a fantastic coach and training with Robbie (Grabarz), there’s no better jumper out there in my eyes. I’ve got the best people behind me and hopefully there’s big things to come. I’ve got the target of beating Fuzz’s personal best, so I’ll be aiming to beat his 2.21m.”

Defending world champion Nathan Stephens (Hughes) finished fifth in the F57/58 javelin with a season’s best throw of 39.86m (877 points). Despite being disappointed with his placing, the 25 year old felt there was plenty of positives to take into the F57/58 discus final on Monday.

“I know I finished fifth, but the only other F57 was Claudiney Santos so second in my category, which is alright. After Lyon, the classes are splitting so they're won't be a combined classification after this competition so it's a good sign looking into Rio.

“It's a season's best and probably the best series of throws since 2011, so there are a lot of positives to take out from it. It's a little disappointing to finish fifth, but I can hold my head up high.

Libby Clegg (Keith Antoine) secured her place in the T12 200m final with a season’s best time of 25.36, while there was also a personal best for Georgina Oliver (Paul Moseley) in the T54 200m as she qualified for the final crossing in 31.35.

Jade Jones (Ian Thompson, Tanni Grey-Thompson) also made it through the semi-finals of the T54 5000m, but there was disappointment for Shelly Woods (Jenni Woods), who was unable to progress to the final.

Woods said: “I’m not quite sure what happened, but I’m definitely not myself. I need to speak to my team and to the doctor to see what’s wrong. I’ve never been that far behind before and fallen off the pack, let alone been lapped, so there’s definitely something wrong with me.

“Once you’re that far off, you want to stop because you know you’re not going to get a good time but I’m not a quitter and I just wanted to finish.”