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ipc world championships (10)

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Dave Weir
Dave Weir makes it two gold medals from two in New Zealand

26 January 2011

Admitting he’s in his best shape since pre-Beijing Paralympic Games, David Weir (coach: Jenny Archer) won his second gold medal of the IPC Athletics World Championships in Christchurch, New Zealand (21-30 January) this evening with another faultless performance.

Adding the T54 1500m title to his 800m triumph earlier this week, Weir – double gold medallist in Beijing over 800m and 1500m – took the Aviva Great Britain and Northern Ireland medal total to 27 when he raced to victory in 3:10.93 ahead of World Record holder Marcel Hug of Switzerland (3:11.13).

“I didn’t expect him to go to the front so early,” said Weir of Hug’s early break into the first bend. “I sat behind him but I was struggling until I got into my rhythm.”

Not surprisingly, the pace slowed into the second lap with Weir comfortable in third place behind Hug and the USA’s Jordan Bird, but as they hit the bell, he pushed through on the outside to play out a two-way battle with Hug in an exact replica of the story which had unfolded over the two-lap event three nights ago.

“I always want to perform at major championships and I feel great to be honest,” said the double world champion. “You get the hunger for gold, of course you do, and for every one I get, I want another one.”

40-year-old Tracey Hinton (coach: Darrell Maynard), after an incredible six races in six days, added T11 400m silver (1:01.39) to her 200m bronze in another medal double.

“I’m really pleased with that,” said the five-time Paralympian. “My mum passed away a year ago and it’s my first major championship without my family here. I wanted to do that for her and I’m really chuffed.”

On conclusion of her intense World Championships programme and looking ahead to the Paralympic Games in London, she admitted that the new chapter in her life deserved a new challenge.

“Training is my life but I’ll have a break now and then I’m thinking about stepping back up to the 800m,” said the current World Record holder with a time of 2:17.66 set back in 2003.

Change - so the saying goes - is as good as a rest, and Hinton, as her performances show, has proved age is just a number.

And continuing her own incredible run of success at major championships, three-time Paralympian Hazel Robson (coach: Janice Kauffman), a former gold medallist in Sydney (2000), raced to an unexpected but no less impressive silver medal in the women’s T36 100m in a lifetime best performance (14.94 (+1.2m/s)) at the age of 31.

“I really didn’t expect to medal and run a PB, but I felt really good in the race,” said the surprised Jarrow and Hebburn athlete who was beaten to gold by Russia’s Elena Ivanova, the world 200m gold medallist, in a new European Record of 14.39.

“I told my mum that I was going to try to stick with the Russian and I almost did that. Winning the bronze in the relay definitely gave me more confidence going into today, I’m sure it helped.”

Taking the evening session medal total to four, newly crowned world 200m champion Katrina Hart (coach: Rob Ellchuk), the brilliant Commonwealth Games T37 100m champion, was unable to make it double gold in Christchurch but raced to a new lifetime best and bronze medal when finishing third in the 100m 14.26 (+0.9m/s).

“I wish the race was 80m,” said the dejected Bath-based athlete, albeit with a smile. “I thought I was going great but it just started to fall apart at the point where I’m usually strongest. I won gold in the 200m but I prefer the 100m because I like to blow everyone away – it just didn’t happen today.”

The race was won by 200m bronze medallist Viktoriya Kravchenko of the Ukraine in 14.21 with Germany’s Maria Seifert, who had fallen in the 100m, in second (14.24).  Jenny McLoughlin (coach: Darrell Maynard) finished seventh in 14.78 and said she would return to the UK to work harder and become a stronger athlete.

Also lining up in a final during the evening, Stef Reid (coach: Dan Pfaff) - double IPC World Championships bronze medallist in the long jump and 200m - completed her highly competitive event schedule in the T44 classification group, finishing fourth in the 100m in 13.95 (+0.4m/s), her first legal run under 14 seconds in a race won by 200m champion Maria Amelie Lefur of France in a new European Record (13.19).

“We all know how hard we’ve worked these last few days and we wanted to enjoy it,” she said of the girls’ heptathlon-style celebration.

Jonnie Peacock (coach: Hayley Ginn) also finished outside the medals in sixth in the eagerly anticipated men’s T44 100m final in 11.89 (-2.2/m/s), but took away a number of valuable lessons.

“It’s all going a bit crazy,” he said, referring to the chaotic scenes in the finish area following Jerome Singleton’s (USA) photo finish victory over South Africa’s defending World and Paralympic champion Oscar Pistorius in 11.34. “I didn’t feel all that alive out there today and I didn’t feel settled. The fact that Jim Bob (USA’s Jim Bob Bizzell) got disqualified didn’t really help because I was out there in lane eight on my own. It was a great experience though and those situations will come up again so I just need to learn from it.”

Also taking away valuable lessons from New Zealand, Josie Pearson (coach: Peter Eriksson) was disqualified in the women’s T52 400m. “It’s really hard, but it’s another big stepping stone,” she commented.

Shelly Woods (coach: Pete Wyman) qualified with ease in second from her T54 1500m heat (3:45.39). Her final takes place on Friday 28 January at 17.16 NZ time (04.16 UK time).

Tomorrow’s action commences with Aviva GB & NI duo Ben Rushgrove (coach: Rob Ellchuk) and Graeme Ballard (coach: Steve Thomas) in the men’s T36 200m final at 10.33 NZ time (21.33 UK time).

For the latest news about the 2011 IPC Athletics World Championships, please visit www.ipcathleticsworldchamps.com, while the IPC’s online TV channel www.ParalympicSport.TV is broadcasting live coverage of the evening sessions from Christchurch.

Daily session reports will be posted on the UKA website: www.uka.org.uk