Switzerland’s Manuela Schaer gave a tactical masterclass in wheelchair racing to win the 5,000m T54 as the sun continued to shine on the second day of competition at the IPC Athletics European Championships in Wales.
The 29-year-old let her rivals do the work at the front of the pack, then, with five laps of the Swansea track remaining, she was off – an injection of pace gave the marathon world champion an unassailable lead, and left the remaining four racers to battle it out for silver and bronze.
Schaer crossed the line 250m clear of the field, clocking 13:20.04 to make it two golds out of two, with the 800m and 1500m still to come.
“I’m really happy. It’s not a very fast or easy track. Breaking away so early I was really happy that I could finish it. I’m very pleased with my result,” said Schaer.
Gunilla Wallengren of Sweden won the battle for silver, with Great Britain’s Jade Jones taking bronze.
Schaer’s victory meant two track golds in succession for Switzerland, coming after Swiss ‘Silver Bullet’ Marcel Hug won his first gold of the championships with victory in the 1500m T54.
The 29-year-old had earlier missed out on victory over 400m, and he was clearly keen to make amends, dictating the race from the gun. The world record holder allowed himself a glance behind as he sped down the home straight, finishing in 3:21.55.
“It was a tactical race, I just tried to stay in the lead and it went how I wanted it to,” said Hug. “I felt a lot better in this race - I had a much better chance to warm up on the track. I was also quite nervous in the first race and that affected my position, this was my second race and I feel a lot better. I am looking forward to the rest of the week.”
Kenny van Weeghel was the man who took the victory in the 400m T54 – pushing hard down the final 100m to pick up his second medal of the championships, after winning 100m T54 silver on Tuesday.
The Dutchman - the fastest man on paper this season - clocked 48.35 for gold, with European record holder Schuh second in 48.80, and Hug – world 400m T54 champion in Lyon last year - third in 49.39.
“It’s very good to win against Marcel and Marc. I expected over the last 150m that Marc and Marcel would gain on me, but I managed to find my power in the last 100m,” he said.
There were a number of sprints in the afternoon schedule, with Paralympic 100m T38 champion Margarita Goncharova one of the stars of the show.
The 23-year-old got the better of her British rival, world champion Sophie Hahn, in their battle for the 100m T38 European title, with the Russian claiming a clear victory ahead of the world record holder, stopping the clock in 13.44.
There was more golden glory for Russia, with Nikol Rodomakina a comprehensive winner in the women’s 100m T47 - a season's best 12.58 for the 21-year-old world silver medallist. Andrey Koptev triumphed in the 100m T11, and world bronze medallist Radoslav Zlatanov took the European title in the 100m T13 in 11.22.
Ukraine’s Oxana Boturchuk took full advantage of defending champion Libby Clegg’s withdrawal from the final of the 100m T12 due to illness, racing to the line in 12.16, just outside the European record she set in her semi-final yesterday.
Oznur Yilmazer won Turkey's first gold medal of the championships with a personal best (13.67) in the women's 100m T11.
And a promising future lies ahead for 14-year-old Maria Lyle of Great Britain - the young sprinter made her international debut at the beginning of the year, followed that up with a world record in May, and stormed home in Swansea to win the 100m T35 with ease.
“I’m really pleased – I’ve been working really hard towards this and I’m just really glad it’s all paid off. I try to block out any pressure and just think about what I need to do,” said Lyle.
Great Britain struck gold again as Mickey Bushell made clear his intentions from the gun in the men’s 100m T53, pushing hard to pull clear of the field as Frenchman Pierre Fairbank tried valiantly to stay in touch. The Paralympic champion’s superiority was clear though, crossing the line in 15.58 with Fairbank finishing in second place.
Amanda Kotaja followed up this morning’s gold medal successes for Finland with a commanding win in the women’s 100m T54. The European record holder and defending champion clocked 17.16 – more than one second clear of the field.
It was no surprise that Thomas Ulbricht set a new personal best on his way to gold in the 400m T12 – the German was pushed all the way by Portugal’s Luis Goncalves. The pair battled to the line shoulder to shoulder, but it was Ulbricht who pulled in front with less than 10 metres remaining, timing his dip on the line to perfection.
Austria’s Thomas Geierspichler added the 400m T52 title to the 1500m gold he won yesterday after Portugal’s Mario Trindade was disqualified for a lane infringement, and Poland’s Michal Mateusz Derus went one better than the silver medal he won in Lyon last year, keeping his composure to win the 200m T47 in 22.47.
In the 800m T36, Russia’s Artem Arefyev – silver medallist two years ago - set a fast pace early on which he held on to comfortably, sprinting home to win in 2:11.74.
Alberto Suarez Laso also took his race on early on – and it proved a good decision for the Spaniard who managed a season’s best 14:56.03 to take gold in the 5,000m T13.
Victory in the men’s discus F37/38 went to Ukraine’s world champion Mykola Zhabnyak, scoring 1015 points (54.89m), and there was gold too for his compatriot Andriy Onufriyenko in the men’s long jump T37.
Belarus scored their second gold of the championships thanks to Siarhei Burdukou, who leapt to a season’s best 6.76m in the long jump T12.
In the men’s high jump T42, a season’s best clearance of 1.71m was enough to secure gold for Poland’s European record holder Lukasz Mamczarz.
“This is my first major title. I’ve won bronze medals before but to win a gold medal is very special. The crowd were excellent and I tried to go for my European record, but maybe I’ll break it next year,” said Mamczarz.
There was a second European gold for Germany’s Daniel Scheil who won the javelin F34 to add to this victory in the discus yesterday - he’ll be hoping to make it a hat trick with the shot put F33 still to come on Friday. World javelin F41 champion Mathias Mester added another gold medal for Germany, throwing 38.69m.
Maria Bogacheva score of 952 (7.04m) earned her gold in the shot put F53/54/55 to add to the world title she won last year, while Vladislav Frolov rounded off a productive day for the Russian team, winning his country’s sixteenth gold medal to put them top of the medal table with 38 medals over all so far. Frolov enjoyed a convincing win in the shot put F32, throwing 9.02m – nearly 1.5m clear of his nearest rival.
The live stream from Swansea 2014, together with videos on demand of individual races, are available to embed on websites in some territories via the IPC’s YouTube channel.
Videos from the morning session (day 2) are available in a playlist on the IPC's YouTube channel.
Videos from the afternoon session are available in seperate playlist.
For further information please contact IPC Digital Media Manager Natalia Dannenberg-Spreier.
In addition, HD quality broadcast footage from Swansea 2014 is available from the IPC’s Broadcast Manager Jose Manuel Dominguez.
Daily highlights will be available for digital channels via Omnisport, whilst individual races as video on demand can be embedded via Perform’s e-player