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UK Athletics

Knowsley Disability Athletics Grand Prix Day Two

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Katrina Hart
Katrina Hart storms to T36/37/38 200m win. Photo: Job King

22 May 2011

Blustery conditions put pay to athletes achieving fast times on the second day of action in the Knowsley Disability Athletics Grand Prix, but it did not stop David Weir continuing his fine form of late with a third victory of the weekend.

Five-time London Marathon winner Weir (coach: Jenny Archer) beat Swiss rival Marcel Hug in the T53/54 1500m to once again cement his position as World number one. Weir tracked Hug's every move going into the final lap and stormed ahead in the home straight to take another victory in 3:30.48 to Hug's 3:31.02.

Weir said: "I felt pretty good – it was quite comfortable. I just had to be careful as the gusts of wind can make it quite dangerous so I had to watch everyone else, remember my strengths and weaknesses and work that little bit harder down the home straight, but I'm pleased with it and my weekend as a whole."

Day two saw a number of London 2012 qualifying standards set. Ben Rushgrove (coach: Robert Ellchuk) managed to bag a Paralympic A standard in winning the T36/37/38 200m with a time of 26.81, while in the women’s race Katrina Hart (coach: Ellchuk) was equally successful – she clocked 32.78, dipping under the Paralympic A standard, to take the win, with Hazel Robson (coach: Janice Kaufman) third in 35.3.

Hart (pictured) said: "I'd heard it was going to be pretty windy on the home straight so I tried to go flat out around the bend and then just hold on, but it was really tough.

"The time was quite bad, but I was running on my own for a large part of the race. I know it's going to be tough with everyone going for the Paralympic standards now. I just want to keep racing to try and get some faster times."

Hannah Cockroft (coach: Peter Eriksson) also clocked a Paralympic A standard, finishing fourth in the T34/53/54 200m with 38.83.

The double IPC Athletics World Champion said of her race: "I felt pretty good. We've been working a lot of improving my pushing technique so it's just a case of trying to enforce that, but the wind didn't really help. It wasn't a great time but I had some good competition so it was worth it.

Jade Jones (coach: Ian Thompson/Tanni Grey-Thompson) had a busy day finishing third in the T34/53/54 200m with 33.70 before going on to battle through 12.5 windy laps to win the T53/54 5000m in 16:47.0.

The men's T44/46 200m saw Ola Abidogun (coach: Steve Thomas) assert himself on the opposition with victory in 26.04, again into a huge headwind of -8.4m/s. Richard Whitehead (coach: Liz Yelling) finished third in 30.97.

Double IPC Athletics World Champion Libby Clegg (coach: Tom Crick) finished second in the T11-13 200m with 29.14, almost three seconds off her personal best. But with a wind reading of -8.7m/s for Clegg's race, times were understandably affected.

In the women's T53/54 1500m Shelly Woods (coach: Eriksson) avoided a collision between two Swiss athletes 200m into the race to finish second in 4:15.32 in a tight battle down the finishing straight with Canada’s Diane Roy who won in 4:17.70.

Other strong performances came from multiple IWAS World Junior gold medallist Danny Lucker (coach: Archer) who was just pipped in his T53/54 1500m race, finishing second to Denmark's Ebbe Blichfeldt in 3:47.42 and 3:47.32 respectively, with fifteen-year-old Will Smith fifth in the same race in 3:48.33. Smith went on to finish third in his T53/54 200m race in 32.18.

Natasha Mead (coach: Sonya Ellis) produced a fine performance to win her T11-13 200m in 33.16 into a -8.1m/s headwind.

For full results from the Knowsley Disability Athletics Grand Prix click HERE.

Click HERE for a full report from day one.