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Gold, Silver and Bronze on Day Four

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David Weir

David Weir won his second World Championship title in as many days when he struck Gold for the Norwich Union Great Britain and Northern Ireland team in Assen on Wednesday 6 August.
 
There was also a silver medal for Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson and a bronze for 18-year-old Ben Rushgrove on day four of the International Paralympic Committee Athletics World Championships bringing the team’s medal tally to five gold, five silver and four bronze.
 
Weir followed up his outstanding T54 400m victory on Tuesday by winning the 1500m title, but the two races were completely different. Yesterday Weir raced away from the field from the start, but today he bided his time in a slow and cagey race, before producing a devastating sprint finish in the last 100m.
 
Weir crossed the line in 3:15.82, just ahead of Mexico’s Saul Mendoza, Athens 2004 Paralympic Games gold medallist over the distance, in 3:15.89 and Kurt Fearnley (Australia) in 3:16.09.
 
It was the end of a busy day on the track for Weir, who had already raced in the heats and semis of the T54 100m – winning both. He broke David Holding’s championship record of 14.60 seconds in the heats – crossing the line in 14.25. He followed that up by winning his semi-final in 14.35.
 
It was also a busy day for Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson who added a silver in the T53 800m to her incredible medal haul at major international championships. Dame Tanni finished second behind Amanda McGrory of the USA in 2:11.85, compared with the American’s time of 2:11.44.
 
Dame Tanni was laid low with an illness over the weekend so she was delighted to get a medal – on her four-year-old daughter Carys’ first day at school.
 
“I’ve been really sick for a few days, so I was happy just to be racing on Monday,” she said. “I thought I would struggle for a medal, but if I pushed really well I could get a bronze, so getting a silver was really good.
 
“There was nothing left at the end,” she added. “If it had been a fast race I wouldn’t have been able to hang in there.”
 
Earlier she was fastest qualifier in the T53 semi-finals. Dame Tanni won her race in 32.42 seconds to book a berth in tomorrow’s final.
 
And 18-year-old Ben Rushgrove, one of the crop of talented young British athletes in action in Assen, rounded off the day by storming to a bronze medal in the T36 200m.
 
“It’s fantastic,” he said. “I wasn’t in the zone today and that was a big problem for me.”
 
Rushgrove (City of Bath AC) got off to a slow start but then powered his way round the bend and ran his way to his first medal at a major international championships. He set a personal best of 25.44 seconds.
 
“It wasn’t my best start, but when I got to 100m I thought ‘pull it together and let’s go. I just kept powering and managed to pull them back.”
 
Graeme Ballard just missed out on his second medal of the championships, finishing fourth in 25.77 seconds.
 
Rushgrove learned last night that the championships jury had overturned their decision to re-run the T36 100m final on a technicality. Rushgrove had been disqualified from that final. Their decision means Ballard (Chorley AC) could celebrate his silver in the event.
 
Lloyd Upsdell (Woodford Green and Essex Ladies) was disappointed to miss bronze in the T35 100m. Upsdell was fourth in 13.89, with gold going to South Africa’s reigning Paralympic champion Teboho Mokgalagadi, who broke his own world record setting a new benchmark of 12.98 seconds. China’s Fu Xinhan took silver in13.27, with Iceland’s Jon Halldorsson edging Upsdell for third in 13.58.
 
“I thought in my heart of hearts that I couldn’t get the gold,” said the Cardiff-based sprinter. “The Chinese athlete and the South African are both superb runners, but I thought I had a good chance of getting bronze. I never gave up fighting, but unfortunately I just couldn’t do it on the day.”
 
Tracey Hinton learned this morning that she had won silver in the T12 800m yesterday (Tuesday). The 36-year-old has crossed the line in second, but was initially disqualified, only for the decision to later be reversed. Hinton (Cardiff AC, British Blind Sport), who was guided by Anthony Wilson in the 800m, goes again in the 400m tomorrow (Thursday).
 
Sixteen-year-old Elizabeth Clegg followed her impressive silver medal in the T12 200m yesterday by setting two personal bests to progress to the T12 100m final.
 
In the heats she finished second to Ukrainian Oxana Boturchuk – the 200m gold medallist  - in 12.82 seconds. She shaved another six hundredths of a second off that pb to finish second again to Boturchuk in the semis in another pb of 12.76 seconds to qualify for tomorrow’s final.
 
Seventeen-year-old Dean Miller (Barrow in Furness Striders) was another GB youngster to impress. He went through to the T37 800m final, finishing fourth in his heat in 2:20.49.
 
Chorley AC athlete Michael Churm sprinted to fifth in the T37 100m final in 12.53 seconds, while Aberdeen AAC athlete Neil Fachie was seventh in the T13 100m in 11.44 seconds, in a race in which Ireland’s Jason Smyth collected his second gold, equalling the world record of 10.86.
 
Stephen Miller (Gateshead Harriers) came fifth in the F32 discus final, producing a best throw of 13.91m with his fifth effort. He goes in his best event, the club, on Friday.
 
Sixteen-year-old Mickey Bushell (BIrchfield Harriers) was fourth in his T53 100m semi-final in 16.54 seconds.
 
Anne Wafula Strike finished fifth her T54 200m semi-final in a race where first, second and third went to Chantal Petiticlerc (Canada), Edith Hunkeler (Switzerland) and Eliza Stankovic (Australia) respectively. Wafula Strike crossed the line in 33.28 seconds, but missed the final.
 
In the first event of the day, Tushar Patel (Velocity) was seventh in his 5000m.