Great Britain’s Aled Davies secured the first gold medal of the 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships on the opening day of competition (Thursday 22 October) in Doha, Qatar, as he clinched victory in the men’s shot put F42.
The 24-year-old saved his best until last as he successfully defended the title he won in Lyon, France, two years ago with a championship record throw of 14.95m in the sixth and final round to get the better of early leader Sajad Mohammadian of Iran (14.54m).
“It’s probably not the performance I wanted, but I came here and won a major title and that’s what matters at the end of the day,” said Davies, who later received his medal from IPC President Sir Philip Craven.
“I know I didn’t perform as well as I could have, but I got the gold medal and that’s what it’s all about. When I got in to the third round I was getting frustrated with the fact that I couldn’t execute everything I wanted to do. My head then turned to make sure I won the competition because Mohammadian set the standard with a throw which was good enough for gold in London.”
Silver went to Mohammadian while Germany’s Frank Tinnemeier won bronze (14.33m).
Davies was the first of five gold medals decided on the opening morning of competition. In the men’s shot put F36 Germany’s Sebastian Dietz also managed a new championship record as he threw 14.87m to get the better of Russia’s 2013 champion Vladimir Sviridov (14.79m). Bronze went to China’s Cuiqing Li (14.52m).
Dietz said: “It was difficult for me but I did well. I have the gold medal and I am very happy with this and to achieve this for my country and make them proud.”
Cuba’s Leonardo Diaz said he was “over the moon” to retain gold in the men’s discus throw F56 with a season’s best 45.10m. Iran’s Ali Mohammadyari took silver (44.97m) with Vietnam’s Be Hau Nguyen winning bronze (38.94m).
China picked up their first gold of the 2015 Championships as Lijuan Zou won the women’s shot put F34 courtesy of a massive first round throw of 8.37m. New Zealand’s Jessica Hamill took silver (7.83m) with Poland’s Lucyna Kornobys in third (7.38m).
Sweden’s Per Jonsson set a new personal best of 7.15m in the men’s long jump T13 to take the title ahead of Spain’s Ivan can Blanco (6.75m) with Uzbekistan’s Bekjon Chevarov leaping 6.65m for bronze.
The first world record of the World Championships also fell in the morning session as Great Britain’s Kadeena Cox stormed home to win her heat in the women’s 100m T37 in 13.59, knocking 0.09 seconds off the previous mark set by the defending champion Mandy Francois-Elie of France, who finished first in her heat (13.87).
“I cannot believe I have done that, I didn’t realise I was running so quick,” admitted Cox. “I was in chill mode before the race and was feeling pretty confident. I shut down in the closing stages so I hope there is a lot more to come.”
Brazil’s reigning world and Paralympic champion Terezinha Guilhermina cruised through the heats of the women’s 400m T11 in a time of 58.68. China’s world ranked number two Cuiqing Liu also confirmed her place in the final, which takes place on Friday 23 October, with a convincing win in the second heat (58.12). Guilhermina’s compatriots Thalita Simplico da Silva and fastest loser Jerusa Santos also progress.
Russia’s Evgenii Shvetcov looked in control as he secured his place in the final of men’s 400m T36. The reigning world, Paralympic and European champion clocked 57.65, whilst in the second heat Great Britain’s world and European silver medallist Paul Blake held off a strong challenge by Ukrainian Roman Pavlyk, finishing in 56.62.
Dutch wheelchair racer Kenny van Weeghel has stepped up to take on the longer distances this year but the reigning world and European 200m T54 champion showed he’s still the man to beat over 200 metres.
The 35-year-old won his heat ahead of Thailand’s Saichon Konjen in a time of 25.55, whilst Germany’s in-form Marc Schuh led the way in the second heat in an impressive 25.46.
In the women’s 200m T54, Finland’s Amanda Kotaja will be hoping to reign supreme in the absence of defending champion Tatyana McFadden. Silver medallist in 2013, Kotaja looked in terrific form as she won the first heat in 30.83, with the USA’s Cheri Madsen winning heat two (31.10).
Australia’s Angela Ballard will be hoping to go one better than her silver medal finish in the women’s 200m T53 at Lyon 2013. The world ranked number one made light of the hot conditions as she pushed hard to the line in 31.86. Great Britain’s Sammi Kinghorn won the first heat in 31.91.
Canada’s Brent Lakatos – the reigning champion and world record holder – got off to a terrific start in his heat of the men’s 100m T53, leading the qualifiers with 14.64. French European silver medallist Pierre Fairbank won his heat comfortably in 15.37.
Russia’s defending champion Andrey Vdovin won the first heat of the men’s 200m T37, easing up over the line in 23.08. Egypt’s Mostafa Mohamed went out strongly in the second heat and held on to take the win in 24.02. Russia’s Cherman Kobesov and the South African duo Fanie van der Merwe and Charl du Toit were also amongst the qualifiers.
South Africa’s Dyan Buis leads the way in to this evening’s final of the men’s 200m T38 after clocking a season’s best 23.15 in the heats. China’s Wenjun Zhou and Jianwen Hu are amongst the eight qualifiers.
In the men’s 400m T20 heats Brazil’s Daniel Martins made clear his intentions, leading the way through to tomorrow’s final (48.84) alongside a strong field including Russia’s Artem Muratov and Italy’s European champion Ruud Koutiki.