The crowds erupted as local favourite Mandy Francois-Elie clinched France’s first gold medal on the track on day three of the IPC Athletics World Championships.
The 23-year-old set a new world record in qualifying on Sunday (21 July), and she looked in control as she sped round the bend before powering down the final stretch to take 200m T37 gold, much to the delight of her supporters in the stands.
Francois-Elie was clearly delighted with her win as she soaked up the cheers from the crowds, 10 months after the disappointment of the 2012 Paralympic Games, where she lost out on gold to Namibia’s Johanna Benson.
“It is a revenge for me and my family after the frustration I faced in London,” she said. “I ran with my heart and it brought me the gold medal.”
Great Britain’s Bethany Woodward won silver, while Benson only managed bronze this time around.
Yohansson Nascimento put in a gritty performance to clinch gold in the 200m T46, after Poland’s Michal Derus made the Brazilian work all the way to the line. Nascimento’s hard work paid off, with a new world record of 21.91.
Paralympic champion Australian Evan O’Hanlon continued his domination of the men’s 100m T38 as he successfully defended his title with a new championship record, despite having already raced out the blocks after a false start.
“I knew I was safe,” he said. “I would have liked to have finished that first run off as I thought I was going faster then, than the actual race.
“It’s hard when you’ve run 100m in this weather to then run another one. I didn’t expect to get pushed so hard but it’s no point winning if it’s not a challenge.”
The women's 100m T34 followed the formbook as Hannah Cockroft added the 100m title to the 200m gold she won on the opening day of competition.
The Briton clocked a new championship record of 17.88 as she powered away from her rivals to cross the line over one second ahead of Dutchwoman Amy Siemons. Australia’s Rosemary Little finished third, making it a repeat of the podium line-up at London last year.
Italy’s Oxana Corso set a new world record in the 100m T35 as she turned the tables on China’s Ping Liu, who had beaten the 18-year-old in London last year, winning gold in 15.63 seconds. Cananda’s Virginia McLachlan took silver with Ping Liu just clinching bronze.
“It was quite unexpected, I have a lot of emotions, I am really moved,” said Corso. “I am really proud, because my family and friends came to support me.”
Finland’s Toni Piispanen went one better than his silver medal two years ago as he won the men’s 100m T51, and Evgenii Shvetcov of Russia set a new world record to clinch gold in the 100m T36, with Ukraine’s Roman Pavlyk adding silver to the long jump gold he won on Saturday.
Veronica Hipolito of Brazil took the title in the women’s 200m T38 with a championship record of 27.49, whilst Tunisia’s double Paralympic champion Walid Ktila added the men's 200m T34 world title to his ever-growing medal collection - and he hopes to continue collecting silverware this week as he takes on three further events.
“I am not too tired, my tyres slipped with the rain which made it a little bit more difficult, I feel confident for the 100m, 400m and 800m,” said Ktila.
Defending champion Yunidis Castillo worked her way past the rest of the field from the inside lane in the 400m T46, and then had to fight off a courageous effort by South Africa’s 2011 runner-up Anrune Liebenberg to take World Championship gold once again.
In the middle distances, Russia’s Egor Sharov stretched out the field as he took control in the 800m T12, accelerating down the home straight and crossing the line with a new world record of 1:50.02.
Victory in the 800m T53 went to America’s Joshua George, who took the race on from the start, pushing hard through 400m before stretching his lead in the final 250m.
But Marcel Hug’s quest for a clean sweep of medals is over after the Swiss left himself too much to do in the final lap of the 800m T54. Hug had to settle for silver as he tried in vain to reach the front of the field having been forced to go wide round the bend. Gold went to Korea’s Gyu Dae Kim.
Poland took gold in the long jump F20 courtesy of Karolina Kucharczyk. Silver medallist in 2011, Kucharczyk broke her own world record from London 2012 in her first attempt, leaping 6.09m, which proved to be her best of the day.
Meanwhile the long jump F42 title went to Italy's Martina Caironi with a Championship record of 4.25m.
Mathias Mester took yet another gold for Germany out in the field, winning the javelin F41, whilst Great Britain’s third gold of the day went to Hollie Arnold in the women’s javelin F46.
Na Mi of China added to her Paralympic gold with victory and a new championship record of 11.72 in the shot put F37 – she will be out to make it a double in the discus on Friday (26 July) – whilst the F54 title went to Maria Bogacheva from Russia with a world record of 7.56m.
Russia scored another gold thanks to Alexey Ashapatov who held onto his discus F57/58 title managing 58.39m (967 points) in his first attempt.
The men’s 100m T44 final on Tuesday (23 July) is set to be a thriller after American Richard Browne knocked two hundredths of a second off Jonnie Peacock’s world record, speeding home to win his semi-final. Peacock had just set a new season’s best of 10.87 to win his qualifier and the pair join Switzerland’s Christoph Bausch, Canada’s Alister McQueen, South Africa’s Arnu Fourie and Americans Jarryd Wallace and Jerome Singleton in tomorrow’s final.
The 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships, featuring over 1,000 athletes from nearly 100 countries, runs through until Sunday 28 July. It is the biggest gathering of international athletes since London 2012 and is being streamed each day live via www.ParalympicSport.TV.
Live results can be found at the Lyon 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships website whilst updates and behind the scenes pictures can be found at twitter.com/IPCAthletics and facebook.com/IPCAthletics.