Commonwealth Games silver medallist Daniel West (coach: Jim Edwards) won a brilliant silver medal in the QE11 Stadium in Christchurch this evening – the fourth medal for the GB & NI team – in the opening day of competition in the IPC Athletics World Championships (21-30 January).
West, a double silver medalist in the shot putt and discus in Assen 2006, threw a Championship Record of 11.37m in round two, a mark later overturned in an exciting competition by French athlete and eventual winner Thierry Cibone in a new World Record (11.53m).
However, following a consistent series of throws which saw him exceed 11m on three occasions and secure a new lifetime best, he was delighted: “My target for the year was to throw 11.20m so to do that in a major Championships, I can’t ask for more,” he said. “I’ve only ever been over 11m once before and that consistency is something I’ve been working on with the boss (his coach, Jim Edwards) back home.
“I’ve been really relaxed out here,” he continued. “It’s the best preparation camp I’ve ever been part of and that helped me massively coming into today.”
Canada’s Kyle Pettey, the former World Record holder and Commonwealth champion finished outside the medals in fourth (10.21m).
Meanwhile, in this evening’s heats, it was three from four for GB & NI’s women in the T36 and T37 200m.
Hazel Robson (coach: Janice Kauffman), double bronze medallist in the Beijing Paralympic Games in the T36 100m and 200m, qualified as third fastest overall with a dominant display in her heat in 32.14 (-1.8m/s).
The north east athlete, who finished third over 200m in the World Championships in Assen 2006, admitted she ran it like a final – good advice she’d been given by team coach Keith Antoine – in a bid to allay her nerves.
“I’ve never had to run heats before,” admitted the 31-year-old seasoned internationalist. “I went out to run as hard as I could and I really enjoyed it.”
Commonwealth Games gold medallist Katrina Hart (coach: Rob Ellchuk) and silver medallist Jenny McLoughlin (coach: Darrell Maynard) progressed through their respective first round heats in the T37 200m with times of 30.37 (0.0m/s) – the second quickest time of the evening – and 31.08 (-0.5m/s) respectively.
While McLoughlin had the agonizing wait to confirm whether or not she’d qualified as one of two fastest losers, which she did, Hart was delighted with her victory: “My plan was hit the first 100m as hard as I could then maintain it so I’m quite pleased with that,” she said, “I don’t think I could have run it any better and I’m definitely more relaxed now I’ve got that one out of the way.”
She lines up in tomorrow’s final in a bid to better her fourth place finish four years ago alongside McLoughlin at 16.52 NZ time, 03.52 in the UK.
Unfortunately Bethy Woodward (coach: Jonas Dodoo) failed to progress from her heat after finishing outside of the automatic qualifying positions in third (31.41 (+0.4m/s)), but she can now focus on her self-confessed best event, the 400m, in which she’s currently ranked number one in the world courtesy of a recent lifetime best performance in Auckland.
Josie Pearson (coach: Peter Eriksson), the former wheelchair rugby player who was making her major Championships debut for the GB & NI team, finished fifth in the T52 100m final in 24.90 (-1.9m/s).