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gateshead disability athletics challenge

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David Weir

11 July 2010

David Weir’s track double was one of the highlights of the day as a number of athletes achieved IPC Athletics World Championships qualifying standards in round two of the UKA Disability Athletics Challenge Series at Gateshead International Stadium (Sunday 11 July).

Weir (coach: Jenny Archer), who clocked three impressive personal bests in Switzerland over 800m (1:32.66), 1500m (2:55.25) and 5000m (9:53.15) in June, continued his busy competition schedule following a third place finish over 1500m (3:09.47) in the IAAF/Samsung Diamond League event in Lausanne on Thursday (8 July).

He kick started his day in the north east with an impressive sprint victory over 100m (15.21) in the T54 category before recording another World Championships A standard in the 800m with 1:35.62.

“I’m in good shape,” admitted the double Paralympic champion who travels to Paris for Friday’s Diamond League meeting ahead of the Aviva London Grand Prix – also a Diamond League event – at Crystal Palace in August. “I raced in Lausanne on Thursday but the track wasn’t great. The track's fast here, I haven’t raced up here since I was a kid, and as soon as I did the 100m I saw that. I’ve been working to sharpen up; I’ve had to lose a little bit of weight, I’ve had to tone up and I’ve been in the gym, I’ve been training really hard to tell the truth since the Paralympic World Cup and it’s all coming together.”

On the in-field, local athlete Stephen Miller (coach: Ros Miller) delivered a high quality and consistent series in the F32/51 Club event with six marks in excess of 30m on his home track. He achieved a World Championships A standard and victory with his fourth round throw of 32.25m, going on to match that distance in round six to demonstrate why he’s one of Great Britain’s most successful Paralympians.

“It was hard work today after yesterday,” said Miller, who competed in the Club Throw incorporated within Saturday’s Aviva British Grand Prix. “I had a busy day with the event and some press work, but I threw a bit further today and it was nice to get another standard even though it was windy. I was hoping to go further, but I’ll take that at this time of year.”

There were also A standards in the men’s and women’ shot putt for Dan West (Jim Edwards), who, like Miller, is a four-time Paralympian, and Sophie Hancock (Shelley Quarin) respectively.

West (F34) recorded a mark of 10.53m in round three to take the win, just outside his 2010 best, while Hancock (F40) continued her consistent form with a 7.58m performance. “I was pleased with it but I was hoping to go that bit further and get a PB,” she said. “It was still good, and I’m pleased with my consistency, but I want to step it up now.”

Other notable event highlights came on the track from T35 athlete Sophia Warner who excelled in setting World Championship A standards over both the 100m (18.39) and 200m (39.86) and Graeme Ballard (Steve Thomas) who recorded two B standards with victories in the 100m (12.52) - a legal PB - and 200m (25.76), whilst Libby Clegg (coach: Tom Crick) clocked a season’s best time of 12.80 (+1.9m/s) for victory in the women’s T11-13 100m.

Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games silver medallist Clegg - most recently crowned Paralympic World Cup champion in May - was well inside the B qualification standard for the IPC Athletics World Championships in January 2011 and went sub-13 seconds for the first time in 2010, in spite of the tough conditions. “Oh my goodness, I’m really happy – it’s so much nearer the qualifying standard (for the New Zealand World Championships),” she said. “The winds tough at the top, it’s really quite strong but it eased off a bit. It was a really good race, I’m so pleased, that’s pretty amazing. I’m hoping to get into a few meets before now and Crystal Palace, but it’s all going really well, Tom (Tom Crick) is a great coach.”

She was unable to match the performance of Weir however, and failed in her attempt to win the sprint double after being disqualified in the women’s T11-13 200m following a final push in the home straight which resulted in her guide runner crossing the line ahead of her.

Results for the Gateshead Disability Athletics Challenge can now be found by clicking here and selecting the Gateshead Tab