World, Paralympic and European champion Markus Rehm delighted the home crowds at Berlin 2018 as he leapt to a new world record in the men’s long jump T64 on Saturday (25 August), the penultimate day of competition in the German capital.
True to form, the 30-year-old saved his best until last in the blustery conditions at the city’s Friedrich-Ludwig-Jahn-Sportpark, adding one centimetre on to the world record he set seven weeks ago.
“To be honest I did not expect a world record today. At the beginning I was really struggling with the conditions, but I knew if I hit the board properly and I could get some tailwind on top then I could jump very far, and I think it worked out in the end,” said Rehm, who leapt a phenomenal 8.48m.
Now the German star, who was cheered all the way by an ecstatic local crowd, has set his sights even further.
“I’m coming closer, 8.50m is the next big barrier which separates good long jumpers from the best and I want to be one of the best, so 8.50m is definitely my goal,” he added.
Teammate Felix Streng leapt a new personal best of 7.71m to claim silver – he will be hoping to add gold to his collection in Sunday’s 100m T64 final.
Treble for Tahti
Finland’s five-time Paralympic champion Leo Pekka Tahti (13.83) never looked in doubt as he powered home to gold in the 100m T54. The Flying Finn completed his first ever championship treble having won the 200m and 400m T54 already this week.
“I’m in very good shape, but of course this is a very big surprise for me, especially winning the 400m and also the silver in the 800m. Everything was very perfect for me so I’m more than happy,” said Tahti, who knocked a further 0.25 seconds off the championship record he set in qualifying.
“I knew yesterday I could do an even better time. I handled the pressure well and actually technically it was a good race today, so I’m happy with that.”
Teammate Amanda Kotaja (17.08) made it a Finnish double as she won gold in the women’s 100m T54, denying Turkey’s 200m champion Zubeyde Supurgeci (17.16) a second European sprint gold in Berlin.
Great Britain claimed a terrific sprint double in the T38 sprints – first out was Thomas Young (23.70), who stormed home to 200m T38 gold with a new personal best.
World and Paralympic champion Sophie Hahn (12.52) was out next and she did not disappoint, clocking a new championship record in women’s 100m T38 to complete her own sprint double.
French sprinters also continued to impress on day six - Pierre Fairbank notched up a remarkable fourth Berlin 2018 gold as he won the 100m T53.
“Four gold medals, it’s perfect, but it’s enough – I’m tired now,” laughed Fairbank. “Tonight, I will celebrate.”
Compatriot Angelina Lanza (26.31) took gold in the 200m T47, her second sprint gold in Berlin, while teammate Mandy Francois-Elie also made it two out of two, holding on for gold in the women’s 200m T37.
Cockroft bounces back
World and Paralympic champion Hannah Cockroft (2:14.21) looked determined not to let fellow Briton Kare Adenegan get the better of her for a second time this week as she claimed gold in the 800m T34.
“I knew I had to go in from the start and put in a quick start because I know that is Kare’s strength and I just had to play it from there really,” said Cockroft, who suffered her first major championship defeat at the hands of her younger rival in Wednesday’s 100m T34 final.
“I have worked really hard on my 800m, especially my tactics, it was nice to be in control out there and to feel comfortable all of the way around.”
Pereira leaves it late
Portugal’s Cristiano Pereira (3:58.28) found an extra gear just when he needed it most, racing down the home straight in the 1,500m T20 to pass Ukrainian Pavlo Voluikevych with a terrific injection of pace, setting a new championship record in the process.
Another gold went Portugal’s way as Carolina Duarte (56.64) finished ahead of world champion Leilia Adzhametova (56.64) in the women’s 400m T13, upsetting the Ukrainian’s plans for a hat trick of golds this week.
“I feel really good, I’ve been training all year or these championships mainly for the 400m, so I was very excited for it. I was really afraid of course but confident at the same time. I wasn’t believing in the beginning but now I know I can. I’ve been training for this so at least I knew I could be with Leilia; maybe in the very end I believed more than her,” said Duarte, who won bronze behind Adzhametova at London 2017.
A terrific late charge by Poland’s Krzysztof Ciuksza (25.39) in the 200m T36 earned the 20-year-old his second gold of the week, having won the 400m T36 less than 24 hours earlier.
Poland’s gold medal haul continued as Joanna Mazur (1:03.67) comfortably added the 400m T11 title to her 1,500m gold from Friday evening; Barbara Niewiedzial (4:43.33) completed her middle-distance double with a comfortable win in the women’s 1,500m T20 and Jakob Nicpon (52.32) claimed his first major gold with a win in the 400m T13.
There was also more Polish success in the field as Janusz Rokicki (13.90) safely defended his shot put F57 title with a new championship record.
“I feel really strong, I feel proud and happy that I won in spite of the fact I am injured,” said Rokicki. “I didn’t expect I could overcome my rival from Azerbaijan (Samir Nabiyev), but I did it.”
Switzerland’s Abassia Rahmani (29.32) won the women’s 200m T62 and Lithuanian former swimmer Kestutis Skucas (1:08.39) took gold in the 400m T52.
Back out in the field there was gold for Italy as Oney Tapia (12.48m) claimed his second title of the week with a win in the shot put F11 – his opening round effort proving the best of his six attempts.
Ukraine’s Mykola Zhabnyak (49.83m) went one better than the shot put silver he won on Thursday (23 August) as he claimed gold in the discus F37; Latvia’s Edgar Bergs finished nearly six metres clear of his rivals with a championship record in the men’s shot put F35;
Belarusian Siarhei Burdukou (7.11m) improved on his bronze medal from two years ago with gold in the long jump T12 and teammate Yuliya Nezhura (6.10m) added more than 20cm on to her personal best to claim women’s shot put F54 gold. Ukraine’s Iana Lebiedieva (5.43m) set a new F53 European record to claim silver.
Bulgaria’s world and Paralympic champion Ruzhdi Ruzhdi (12.14m) rounded off the day with a win in the men’s shot put F55.
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.