13th September 2016

Arnold And Hermitage Break World Records For Gold

13 September 2016 

Hollie Arnold (coach: Anthony Hughes) and Georgie Hermitage (Paul MacGregor) both won gold with world record efforts, with Stephen Miller (Ros Miller) winning bronze as medals rained down at the Estadio Olimpico for ParalympicsGB.

Arnold enjoyed a magnificent series in the F46 javelin as she set a world record of 43.01m in round two which was an improvement on her own previous best by just under 2.5 metres. The reigning world champion had extended her personal best with her very first throw, putting pressure on her competitors early on. And in her third Paralympic Games, she held on to secure her golden moment on the podium.

The Paralympic champion said: “It is pretty surreal really; it was just one of those days when everything went right. I knew I had to go out there and perform to my absolute best. I wanted to put myself into a strong position and I think I led the whole way. I didn’t even think it was my last throw (on world record effort) – so when it came up on the board as 43.01m I just thought, ‘oh wow!’ I just burst into tears; I never expected it to go that far.

“I’ve had about two to three months out with a shoulder injury this year but I’ve been working hard through rehab and trying to do as much as possible to be in the best possible shape. I felt positive about it – I’ve done some great work with the team so I cannot thank them enough. I didn’t really hurt too much on the shoulder as I guess adrenaline kicked in.”

Hermitage was in phenomenal form as she lowered her own previous world best in the 400m to 1:00.53 and took her second gold medal at this Paralympic Games. The 100m champion attacked down the back straight, going alongside French rival Mandy Francois-Elie of France before they hit the bend. From this point onwards, the Briton controlled the race and continued to accelerate towards the line to take the title.

A delighted Hermitage spoke afterwards: “I did what I needed to do so I’m happy. The heat is good thing for my hemiplegia as it loosens my muscles off, but I’ve still got to cope with the humidity. I’m really happy and relieved and I can relax for a day now before the relay.

“I was very nervous for this one because the 400m means everything, but I’ve pulled it off and hopefully there’s more in the tank in years to come.”

At his sixth Paralympic Games, Miller won bronze to add to his previous six medals from the Games. After winning gold in Atlanta 20 years ago, the North-East based athlete produced his best throw of the season, 31.93m to take another medal on this stage.

Miller commented afterwards: “Evergreen Miller as people call me. It’s an unbelievable feeling – I think everybody would agree me included that I wasn’t expected to win a medal. So to get on the podium is unbelievable. I’m still taking it in to be honest because on world rankings we’re a long way behind. It just proves on the day that anything can happen. You’ve got to be in it to win and I was in it today.

“There’s a lot of guys throwing a long way now –  I was a bit frustrated as I felt like I was capable of winning the competition, but I’m still coming back to where I was 8-10 years ago. To get nearly 32m at my sixth Paralympics is a really good feeling. I did the best I could today.”

He added: “I got a new hip which was the biggest change as I was in a bad way in London. I did all the rehab and now I’m stronger and fitter than ever. I’ve been working on my technique and all the work that goes in with my mam (mum) and coach (Ros Miller). All the support from the people back home in Newcastle and Gateshead have all helped and contributed. The National Lottery have funded me for most of my career, so without them I wouldn’t be able to be a full-time professional athlete”

With the sun beating down on the track and temperatures reaching 40 degrees, Stephen Osborne (Jenni Banks) admitted the heat was a factor as he finished sixth the T51 100m final. After a solid start, a slight wobble at the 40m mark affected his rhythm as he crossed the line sixth in 23.18 (-0.4).

Stephen Morris (James Thie) had the birthday treat of competing in the T20 1500m final, placing sixth in 3:58.69. Up against the strong American Mike Brannigan, the Welshman sat in behind him for much of the race and got into an ideal position with 400m to go. However, his opponents had the quicker finish in the closing stages but Morris held on for a high placing.

There were mixed fortunes for the British pair Isaac Towers (Peter Wyman) and Ben Rowlings (Job King) in the T34 800m heats. Towers crossed the line fourth in the first heat so faced an anxious wait to see if he would receive one of the fastest loser spots. Ultimately, he did so will contest the final tomorrow. However, Rowlings’ time of 1:48.08 was unfortunately not enough to reach the final as his first Games drew to a close.

ParalympicsGB Athletics medal tally: (20)

Gold (10):

Hollie Arnold – F46 Javelin

Libby Clegg & Chris Clarke – T11 100m

Aled Davies – F42 Shot Put

Sophie Hahn – T38 100m

Georgie Hermitage – T37 100m and 400m

Jonnie Peacock – T44 100m

Hannah Cockroft – T34 100m  

Richard Whitehead – T42 200m

Jo Butterfield – T51 club throw

Silver (4):

Kare Adenegan – T34 100m

Jonathan Broom-Edwards – T44 High Jump

Toby Gold – T33 100m

Stef Reid – T44 long jump

Bronze (6):

Kadeena Cox – T38 100m

Gemma Prescott – F32 club throw

Sabrina Fortune – F20 shot put

Stephen Miller – F32 Club Throw

Andrew Small – T33 100m 

David Henson – T42 200m