Great Britain’s track stars gave the London crowds plenty to cheer about on Sunday (26 July) as two world records fell out on the track at the IPC Athletics Grand Prix Final, part of three days of action at the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games in the British capital.
Georgina Hermitage smashed her own world record in the women’s 400m T37 and her compatriot Sophie Hahn followed moments later with a win and a new world record in the women’s 100m T38.
Just five weeks after breaking the world record which had previously stood for 15 years, Hermitage was at it again - this time in the former Olympic Stadium.
The 26-year-old looked in great shape as she powered round the track from the gun, coming off the final bend well clear of the rest of the field and crossing the line in 1:02.48, well clear of France’s European silver medallist Mandy Francois-Elie who was second in 1:06.36
“I thought I had over done it in the first 200m, I think I nearly got a personal best over 200m,” Hermitage said afterwards. “I came off the gas a bit round the bend, I saw the clock ticking down and thought I had over cooked it but I’m happy.
“I felt really tired in that last 100m and the crowd just carried me through. I know it sounds clichéd but it definitely does help.
“I’m confident (before World Championships) as long as I have a good training period and no injuries that’s all I can ask for.”
Not to be out done, Great Britain’s world champion Sophie Hahn was next out on the track in the women’s 100m T38 – and she knocked a phenomenal 0.04 seconds off her own world record mark as she stormed home in 13.00.
The 18-year-old enjoyed a terrific start out of the blocks and her early lead proved too much for Russia’s Paralympic champion Margarita Goncharova, who chased hard to the line to finish second in 13.07.
“It was absolutely amazing – the crowd and the track were incredible – it was just such a shock, I’m just so happy,” said Hahn. “I’m back into training now and I’m just going to train hard and hopefully peak for Doha. Coming up against Margarita was on the back of my mind as I haven’t raced her for a year but I kept my cool.”
Victory did not all go the host country’s way however as the USA’s world and Paralympic silver medallist Richard Browne got the better of his great track rival Jonnie Peacock to win the 100m T44.
Back on the same track where he set the world record at the Anniversary Games two years ago, Browne went in to the race in superb form, having set a new world lead of 10.72 earlier in the week.
It was Browne’s compatriot Jarryd Wallace – the 200m world champion – who got off to a terrific start out of the blocks but with 50 metres to go Browne pushed hard to the front.
Crossing the line in 10.96, with Peacock second in 11.02, Browne punched the air in delight.
“I definitely feel good about the win rather than the performance itself,” he said. “The time was not good at all but it was great to come out here and perform in front of the British crowd, I love racing here.
“It was most important to get the win and I wanted to prove it again today, especially taking on Jonnie (Peacock). This will be the last time I see him before Doha so I need to go from here and work on my starts to be ready for the World Championships.”
Switzerland’s Marcel Hug controlled the race from the gun as he went on to clock a new stadium record of 3:04.15 to take the win in the men’s 1,500m T54 with Thailand’s Rawat Tana second in 3:04.40. Great Britain’s David Weir finished fifth in 3:04.80.
The Netherlands’ world and European champion Marlou van Rhijn maintained her winning ways as she finished strongly to win the 100m T44 in 13.04, a new stadium record. Great Britain’s Sophie Kamlish was second (13.66) with her compatriot Laura Sugar third (13.74).
The 100m T53 went to form as Canada’s Brent Lakatos, the 100m T53 world champion and world record holder took the tape in 15.07 ahead of Pongsakorn Paeyo (15.54).
South Africa’s Jonathan Ntutu was the fastest home in the two heats for the 200m T11/12, clocking 22.57. Russia’s Paralympic champion Fedor Trikolich was second in 22.60.
In the men’s 100m T47 Poland’s Michal Derus sprinted hard to the line to clinch victory The world champion clocked 10.78 to take the win ahead of Great Britain’s James Arnott (11.36).
South Africa’s Charl du Toit, winner in Berlin last month, continued his run of form with a win in the 100m T37 (11.69) ahead of his compatriot Fanie van der Merwe (11.77).
Great Britain’s Richard Whitehead got the crowds roaring again as he came through in the final 50m to take victory in the men’s 200m T42 (25.79). There was added joy for fellow Briton David Henson who took silver (26.53).
Another win went Great Britain’s way as Hannah Cockroft secured victory in the 400m T34. The Briton clocked 1:03.67 having never looked in doubt.
There was a win too for Great Britain’s Libby Clegg who powered home to win the 200m T12 (25.22) well clear of her two Chinese sprint rivals Cuiqing Liu and Guohua Zhou.
Switzerland’s Manuela Schaer took control of the women’s 1,500m T54 as she cruised home to win in 3:38.50. The European champion stretched the field with two laps to go as the USA’s Chelsea McClammer (T53) tried hard to stay in touch, finishing in second place (3:40.79)
Poland’s Daniel Pek took the gold (51.61) in the men’ 400m T20.
Out in the field, Italy’s world champion Martina Caironi continued her winning form in the long jump, having equalled the world record mark of 4.60m earlier in the year. A second round leap of 4.33m (994 points) was enough for the win as Marlene van Gansewinkel (T44) clinched silver with 4.62m (638 points).
Germany’s World, Paralympic and European champion Markus Rehm also maintained his winning ways, sealing victory in London with a final round leap of 7.83m. (1107 points). Japan’s T42 world champion Atsushi Yamamoto was second with a best of 6.11m (946 points).
Great Britain’s Jo Butterfield extended her European record to win the club throw F32/51. The European champion threw 21.50m – a new stadium record - in the third round to seal the win with the USA’s world record holder Rachael Morrison second with a best of 16.45m.
Egypt’s Metawa Abouelkhir took victory in the opening event of the day, the men’s discus F57, with a final throw of 43.64m. The women’s shot put F20 gold went to Russia’s Antonina Baranova, as she managed 13.35m in the fifth round.
There was an American one-two in the discus F42/44 as David Blair took the win with 56.70m in the second round. World and Paralympic champion Jeremy Campbell had to make do with second place (56.38m).
Athletes will now get ready for the IPC Athletics World Championships in Doha, Qatar, between 22-31 October.