Gold Coast 2018: Hollie Arnold on top of the world

Welsh thrower breaks record to take javelin F46 gold 09 Apr 2018
a female thrower screams as she throws her javelin

Hollie Arnold smashed the world record to take Commonwealth gold

ⒸGetty Images

Welsh Para athlete Hollie Arnold smashed the world record with her final round throw to add Commonwealth javelin F46 gold to her world and Paralympic titles on Monday (9 April) in Australia’s Gold Coast.

Arnold showed her class with her last attempt of the competition at a packed Carrara Stadium, throwing a massive 44.43m under pressure after her great rival, Kiwi Holly Robinson, broke the previous world record in the first round with a superb 43.32m effort.

But the Grimsby-born thrower, whose first major championships was the 2008 Beijing Games when she was only 14, held her nerve and produced her best just when it was needed.

Bronze went to Vanuatu’s Friana Kwevira (24.54m) – the first Commonwealth medal for the Pacific island nation.

"I'm just over the moon," Arnold told BBC Sport.

"On that last one, I told myself, 'I can take this'. I just focused on me. I've never screamed so loud. I'm so happy. It's been a rough few months for me so I'm just so happy to be Commonwealth champion."

Arnold’s winning mark was 1.41m further than her best throw at last year’s World Championships in London, Great Britain – where she also broke the world record.

In fact, the 23-year-old has a history of performing when it matters – she also smashed the previous world record to take gold in the final round at Rio 2016.

Arnold’s victory meant further track and field success for Wales, coming 24 hours after teammate Olivia Breen won gold in the long jump T38.

The home crowds also had plenty to cheer about as Evan O’Hanlon rounded off his Para athletics career with victory in the men’s 100m T38.

The 29-year-old reigning world champion never looked in doubt as he crossed the line in 11.09 seconds to add the one title missing from his illustrious career.

O’Hanlon had planned to retire after Rio 2016, but a rare defeat there – and the prospect of a home Games – led him to postpone that decision for a further 18 months.

The battle for silver and bronze took place between two South Africans, and it was Dyan Buis who came through for second place (11.33) although he was pushed all the way by his teammate Charl du Toit, who ran superbly to smash the T37 world record and claim bronze.

Du Toit clocked 11.35 seconds, taking 0.07 off the mark he set when he won 100m T37 gold at Rio 2016.

Back out in the field, Trinidad and Tobago’s javelin and shot put F44 world champion Akeem Stewart managed a best of 19.10m to finish an impressive ninth overall in the able-bodied final of the men’s shot put, which was won by New Zealander Tomas Walsh (21.41m).

England’s Richard Chiassaro leads the way through to Tuesday’s (10 April) final of the men’s 1,500m T54. The 36-year-old set a new Games record in the second heat, crossing the line in 3:05.76 just ahead of local favourite Kurt Fearnley (3:06.72) – who had plenty of home support.

“I forgot how amazing it is to push in front of a big, boisterous Aussie crowd. Mate, it’s like I’m pushing in front of 10,000 Fearnleys,” he said afterwards.

England’s Nathan Maguire also progressed automatically from heat two, while the first three qualifiers in heat one were Australian Jake Lappin, England’s Dillon Labrooy and Canada’s Tristan Smyth.

The Para athletics competition continues on Tuesday (10 April) with the men’s and women’s 1500m T54 finals.