Berlin 2018: Karolina Kucharczyk’s glorious return

Champion retains title in world record style at Europeans 24 Aug 2018
By IPC

Poland picked up their 13th gold medal at Berlin 2018 as defending champion Karolina Kucharczyk set a new world record in the women’s long jump T20 on Friday (25 August).

Back in action after the birth of her son last year, Kucharczyk, who missed the London 2017 World Championships, was more determined than ever to make her mark in the German capital.

“I was prepared to beat the world record, I was even prepared to jump 6.20m,” said Kucharczyk, who leapt 6.14m in the third round – five centimetres further than her previous record mark set at the Lyon 2013 World Championships.

“Last year my son was born, so I told myself I must come back stronger – I must prove to myself that I am stronger than before. I’ve been training so hard to jump a world record here and I dedicate my world record here to my son.

“It was very important for me because I felt my rivals’ breath on my neck. I know they are coming, so I knew I had to make my record further just to be at least half a metre in front of them.”

Inspiring the next generation

Afterwards, Kucharczyk was mobbed by local schoolchildren seeking autographs and photos, and she was more than happy to oblige.

“I’m still very emotional that these kids are here. I am a mother, my child is still very young, so I appreciate that they are here and I gave everybody my signature.

“I started my career when I was 13, so in Poland I really try to involve children to start their sport and I hope that here, children follow me and other athletes.”

Kucharczyk’s teammate Maciej Sochal (8.22m) won gold in the shot put F32 – his second title at Berlin 2018, having won the club throw already.

Norway earned their first gold medal of the championships courtesy of F44 Para athlete Ida Nesse. The 25-year-old unleashed a new personal best of 34.08m in the discus F64 to claim her first major title.

Ukraine picked up two gold medals in the field. World bronze medallist Anastasiia Moskalenko (19.42m) set a new personal best as she won the women’s club throw F32 with her final throw of the day and multiple world champion Mariia Pomazan (11.42m) won the shot put F35.

First for France

French athlete Angelina Lanza (5.62m) claimed her first European title in the women’s long jump T47.

“It felt great, there were people watching so it was really good for me. I did my personal best so it was really nice to do that at the European Championships. Now I hope to go to the World Championships in Dubai next year,” said the 25-year-old, who won bronze at London 2017.

Belarusian Aliaksandr Tryputs saw off Greek world champion Manolis Stefanoudakis in the men’s javelin F54 thanks to his championship record throw of 29.48m.

Divine Devine

Great Britain claimed the only gold medal decided out on the track in the morning session.

David Devine (15:11.28) opened up a lead of over 50m in the men’s 5,000m T13 and never looked threatened around the final lap as the battle for silver and bronze unfolded behind him.

“My coach told me I’m in really good 5km shape so he said to go out and control it for 4km and go from there. The Spanish athletes went past me a couple of times but it didn’t bother me. I paced it right and had enough to pick it up at the end.,” said the 26-year-old, who finished second in the 1,500m earlier in the week.

“I was a bit disappointed after the 1500m on Monday, but this has put a smile on my face today.”

Spain’s Alberto Suarez Laso (15:16.81) claimed silver in a sprint finish behind the Briton, with Ukraine’s Serhii Bereziuk (15:17.35) taking bronze.

Every minute of the Berlin 2018 European Championships is being streamed live on the World Para Athletics website. Visit the Berlin 2018 website for live results, full schedule, highlights and latest news.