Slovakia’s Adrian Matusik denied Denmark’s Jackie Christiansen the fairy tale finish to his illustrious career by winning shot put F44 gold by just 1cm on Tuesday (27 October) morning, the sixth day of the 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships in Doha, Qatar.
Since making his international debut in 2000, Christiansen has won three Paralympic gold medals and looked set to win a fourth successive world title until the penultimate throw of the competition. Leading with a fourth round throw of 17.18m, Christiansen watched on as Slovakia’s European title holder Matusik produced a sensational personal best of 17.19m, to take the lead and push the Dane into silver by just 1cm. In reply, Christiansen could only manage 15.97m with the final throw of the competition and his career.
“It was a bit annoying really, missing out on the gold by 1cm and in the last throw of the competition,” said Christiansen. “What can you do though? Today, the Slovakian was simply better, but I still hold the world record and the European record. Doha was my last competition as I will retire now, so it was nice to at least come away with a medal.”
The USA’s David Blair (15.49m), who had briefly held silver medal position, settled for bronze with an Americas record.
The world record fell in the women’s shot put F35 with Ukraine’s Mariia Pomazan (13.05m) adding 70cm to her previous best to top the podium. Silver and bronze went to China’s Jun Wang (12.23m) and Brazil’s Marivana Oliveira (9.17m) respectively. Both athletes set regional records in the process.
“I am very happy it was a great competition, I didn’t really think about breaking my own world record, I just did it!” said Pomazan.
The USA won their eighth gold medal of Doha 2015 as Lex Gillette retained his long jump T11 world title from two years ago. The 30-year-old jumped 6.38m in the fifth round to finish ahead of Azerbaijan’s Elchin Muradov (6.27m) and Ukraine’s Ruslan Katyshev (6.22m). The silver and bronze medallists both jumped personal bests.
“The competition was good,” said Gillette. “For the most part we had straight runs, there were a few hiccups here and there but we got the results we needed to win and that’s the most important thing. I am looking forward to going home and resting, then I will get back to training hard for the road to Rio!”
Algeria doubled their gold medal tally to two courtesy of Nassima Saifi (34.31m) in the discus F57. Trailing Bulgaria’s early leader Stela Eneva (32.25m), Saifi produced 34.31m in the third round to land her third successive world title in this event. Eneva held on to silver whilst Ireland’s Orla Barry (29.82m) landed a season’s best to take bronze.
The women’s shot put F53 was won by Ukraine’s Svitlana Stetsyuk (4.68m) ahead of Fatema Nedham’s (4.50m) silver which was Bahrain’s first medal of the Championships. Greece’s Dimitra Korokida (4.36m) won bronze with a personal best.
“It was a very difficult competition, but it was great. I am beyond happy,” said Stetsyuk.
In the morning’s heats, China’s Cuiqing Liu (12.49), who is chasing a third Doha 2015 gold after winning the 200m and 400m, was the fastest qualifier in the women’s 100m T11. Canada’s Brent Lakatos (51.12) was the second fastest qualifier in the men’s 400m T53 and will have to beat the USA’s Brian Siemann (51.04) to add to his 100m and 200m titles.
Switzerland’s Marcel Hug (48.59), the defending men’s 400m T54 champion, only just made the final as the eighth fastest qualifier, as China’s Chengming Liu (48.05) led the way.
Another Chinese athlete, Wenjun Liu, was the fastest qualifier in the women’s T54, as was Namibia’s defending champion in the men’s 400m T13 Johannes Nambala.
The men’s 100m T47 is set to be a real thriller with just 0.04 seconds separating the three fastest qualifiers – Brazil’s Yohansson Nascimento (11.04),China’s Hao Wang (11.05) and Poland’s Michal Derus (11.08).
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