DUBAI: Mohamed Al Hammadi had already won a silver and a bronze at Dubai 2019 World Athletics Championship but the gold was still missing for him and hosts UAE.
It was the final day of the competition on Friday and a lot was riding on him going into his pet event the 800 T34.
However, the 34-year-old rose the challenge in front of home fans to clinch gold with a new championship record of 1.44:36seconds at the Dubai Club for People of Determination.
Settling for the second spot, just 0.43 seconds behind was Walid Ktila of Tunisia while China’s Yang Wang (1.46:04seconds) took bronze.
“I’m very happy, I wanted to win the 400m gold medal but I couldn’t, I wanted to win the 100m but I couldn’t. But today I won in the 800m. I’m also happy because I won gold in the 800m in Rio too,” said the delighted Paralympic champion.
“I hope this gold medal bring happiness to all the people of UAE. It was the first gold medal for my country. If UAE is happy, then I will be happy too,” added Al Hammadi .
Alhammadi’s gold medal winning effort allowed UAE to leapfrog 16 positions from their 49th place at London 2016.
First Race Running winners
Friday also was a day of firsts in a new race. Dubai 2019 was the first World Championships to count with Race Running events.
Great Britain’s Kayleigh Haggo and Gavin Drysdale took the first golds in the 100m RR3. Haggo (18.32seconds) won the women’s race in a British one-two with Ellie Simpson (18.87seconds). Denmark’s Andrea Overgaard (21.12seconds) took bronze.
Drysdale’s (16.72seconds) victory came in another British one-two with Raifi Solaiman (17.38seconds). Brazil’s Adriano de Souza completed the podium (18.25seconds).
“I can’t believe it, I want to dedicate this gold medal to my coach. Being here in Dubai has been amazing. I love to be part of Great Britain team again. When I came to Berlin [Europeans] everything was bigger than the things that I was used to. But here in Dubai it was another level,” said Drysdale, using a tablet to communicate.
Denmark’s Daniel Wagner (12.32seconds) won the closest race of the day in the men’s 100m T63. Only 0.02 separated him from second place Leon Schaefer (12.34seconds) of Germany in the men’s 100m T63. Brazil’s Vinicius Rodrigues (12.38seconds) was third.
The last track event of the World Championships ended with a Japanese clean sweep in the men’s 1500m T52. Tomoki Sato (3:39.99seconds) won the race followed by Hirokazy Ueyonabaru (3:56.21seconds) and Tomoya Ito (3:56.52seconds).
China finish on a high
China topped the medals standing for a third World Championships in a row with 25 gold medals in total (15 on the track and 10 on the field) – including two on the final day.
Xiaoyan Wen (27.11seconds) won the women’s 200m T37 with a world record and Dening Zhu (6.61m) took gold in the men’s long jump T38.
After all that gold rush, the Brazilians missed out on a gold on the final day but the South American still finished with their best ever campaign in a World Championships. Their 14 golds, nine silvers and 16 bronze allowed them to settle for the second place in the medals tally.
Great Britain completed the top three with 13 golds, nine silvers and six bronze.
All results and records from the World Para Athletics Championships can be found on the Dubai 2019 page.
The next World Para Athletics Championships will take place in Kobe, Japan, in 2021.