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SEVEN MEDALS FOR GB & NI ON THIRD DAY IN LYON

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Paul Blake

22 July 2013

GB & NI continued their impressive start to the IPC World Athletics Championships, as the team picked up a total of seven medals including three gold medals on the third day in Lyon.

Paul Blake (coach: Rob Ellchuk) got proceedings underway winning gold in the T36 800m in a personal best and championship record time of 2:06.10. The 23 year old won bronze in the event at the Paralympic Games last summer and was pleased to go one better this time around.

Blake said: “I was confident coming into the race – my aim obviously was to win gold like any other athlete, but it could have been any one of us. I was lucky to come through in the end and win it.  

“My coach told me to go out pretty quickly because I knew I had the speed over 400m, it was just managing over the next lap and keep running. It’s the hardest I’ve ever raced and the most difficult conditions I’ve ever had to work with.  I’ve put a lot more work in the gym this season to help me with my finishing and it’s paid off here.”

After winning the T34 200m on Saturday, Hannah Cockroft (Jenni Banks) retained her second world title by racing away to victory in the T34 100m in a championship record time of 17.88. The 20 year old admitted that despite her convincing victory, she felt under pressure to deliver her second world title in Lyon.

“The pressure was on today, everyone kind of expected me to win so I didn't want to let people down. It's awesome now it's over as it was a little bit nerve-wracking sitting on that start line.

“You've got to say you're confident in the build-up, but I've been feeling the pressure since I got off the plane here. I knew that people wanted me to win two gold medals but I hadn't raced against the whole line-up since the Paralympics so I had no idea what the other girls had to offer. But it's all worked out to plan,” added Cockroft who was followed across the line by Mel Nicholls in fifth place.

Hollie Arnold (Anthony Hughes) followed her training partners Josie Pearson, Aled Davies and Kyron Duke to medal success winning gold in the F46 javelin. Arnold produced a personal best throw of 37.45m and was delighted to finish in top spot.

“I feel amazing I’m lost for words really. I’ve had a lot of struggles in the last few months with glandular fever, but I came back stronger and that’s what the best athletes do.

“I was confident coming into it, but you can’t be too confident because you don’t know what the athletes are going to come out and throw. But I’m really happy to come away with the gold.”

Duke meanwhile added F41 javelin silver to the F41 shot put bronze he won yesterday throwing a best of 36.03m.

On winning his second medal, Duke said: “I'm over the moon with two medals from two events - it's the best I could have come out with. But I also know in myself that there are some things I could have done differently and that in the future there's stuff I can work on in my training.”

After running a championship record in the semi-final yesterday, GB & NI’s newest star Sophie Hahn (Joseph McDonnell) marked her debut on the international stage with a silver medal recording a time of 27.73. Hahn was over the moon with her performance and paid tribute to the crowd at the Rhone Stadium.

“It was fantastic out there but I’d just like to say congratulations to the Brazilian girl (Veronica Hipolito), she deserved it today. My start was a bit shaky but it got better around the bend and I’m really happy with the silver medal. The crowd were fantastic and it’s great to have the support of my family out here too,” said Hahn, whose teammate Olivia Breen finished in fifth.

Bethany Woodward (Jared Deacon) repeated her performance at the Paralympic Games finishing second in the T37 200m. Woodward recorded a personal best of 29.12 and was pleased to finish the competition with a silver medal.

“I was hoping for that result.  I mean, coming into it you never know what people are going to do so I was thinking gold might be in my sights but after the heat from the Frenchwoman it was obvious that we'd be fighting for second. I'm so glad that I've beaten the Paralympic champion, who finished third, and that I've come out on top,” said Woodward, who finished ahead of Katrina Hart, who crossed in eighth place.

London 2012 silver medallist Graeme Ballard (Tabo Huntley) added world bronze to his list of achievements in the T36 100m, while teammate Ben Rushgrove (Rob Ellchuk) finished in fifth place in the same race.

Derek Derenalagi (Alison O’Riordan) and Nathan Stephens (Hughes) finished in sixth and seventh place respectively in the F57/58 discus final, while Sam Ruddock (McDonnell) narrowly missed out on a place in the T35 100m final by 400 hundredths of a second,

Defending T42 200m world champion Richard Whitehead (Keith Antoine) looked every inch as impressive as his performance at London 2012 last summer, as the 37 year old eased to victory in the semi-final in a championship record time of 24.49.

Sophia Warner (Stephen King) finished in fourth place in the T35 100m in a time of 16.61 and Lee Whiteley narrowly missed out on a medal in the T38 100m final crossing the line in fourth.

After running 11.82 in yesterday’s semi-final, Rhys Jones (Jane Coia) finished in seventh place in the T37 100m final with a time of 12.19, while Jonnie Peacock (Steve Fudge) was fastest in his T44 100m semi-final clocking a season’s best of 10.87.

Beverley Jones (John Parkin) finished fifth in the F37 shot put final and Ola Abidogun (Stephen Thomas) recorded a season’s best of 22.65 in the T46 100m to finish in seventh place.

Jade Jones (Ian Thompson, Tanni Grey-Thompson) secured her place in tomorrow’s T54 800m final, while Stephen Osborne (Banks) was sixth in the T51 100m.