Switzerland’s five-time world champion Marcel Hug tore apart the field in the men’s 5,000m T54 to pick up his third European title on the final day of competition at the IPC Athletics European Championships in Swansea, Wales.
The 28-year-old looked to be playing with the field as he repeatedly pulled away in front before checking back to join the pack. With seven laps remaining it was clear no one else was prepared to take on the race, and Hug was off.
The ‘Swiss Silver Bullet’ sped away leaving the rest of the field in his wake, and he crossed the line over 200m clear of the chasing pack, in a time of 11:36.19.
“The pace started quite slow and I was just waiting and biding my time to see what would happen. I was concentrating on keeping my position and then I decided on my time to go faster,” said Hug, who won the 800m and 1500m titles earlier in the week as well as bronze in the 400m T54.
“I was trying to push the pace as much as I could throughout the race but it was always slowing down so I just went for it. I’m very happy with another medal – the European Championships are another important stepping stone on the road to Rio.”
Hug’s compatriot Manuela Schaer was next up on track in the women’s 1500m T54, and the marathon world champion rounded off a highly successful week in Swansea winning a fourth gold medal.
The 29-year-old was also quick to control her race, pushing clear with two laps to go and finishing well in front of Gunilla Wallengren who took silver, with another Swiss racer, Patricia Keller securing bronze.
“I’m really glad to win and I’ve had an amazing week,” said Schaer, who crossed the line in 3:55.00. “It started really well in the 400m and got better and better. I’m so happy I could finish with another gold medal.
“Things are going well for Switzerland, I think it’s because we have some amazing facilities in the national centre and we have a very good group of people which helps.”
Finland’s Henry Manni also took his fourth gold medal of the week, winning the 400m T34 in 56.03, more than two seconds ahead of Switzerland’s Bojan Mitic.
Another multiple gold medallist out on the track was Oznur Yilmazer of Turkey, who stormed home to win the women’s 400m T11 in 1:04.59 – a new personal best, and more than 10 seconds clear of the field. The 17-year-old is sure to have a promising future on the track after winning European gold over 100m and 200m as well as the 400m T11 this week in Swansea.
Turkey scored another gold courtesy of Semih Deniz – his second medal of the day, turning 400m T11 silver from this morning into gold in the 1500m T11 this afternoon. The 25-year-old took to the front with less than two laps remaining, clocking a season’s best 4:19.51.
Russia’s three-time world champion Elena Pautova continued her domination of the 1500m T12, retaining the title she won in Stadskanaal two years ago in convincing style.
The 28-year-old struck out early on and continued to increase her lead, finally crossing the line 200m ahead of her rivals in 4:39.87.
Out in the field, home favourite and Great Britain’s golden boy Aled Davies added to the shot put title he won on Thursday with victory in the discus F42. The reigning world champion threw 46.46m in his fourth attempt, just over two metres shy of the world record mark he set in Grosseto back in May.
“After watching Dan Greaves throw a big one yesterday I was hoping I might get a good tail wind but the wind seemed to be coming towards me and the discus was going backwards,” said Davies. “I can’t complain too much - I’m chuffed with the second gold medal and the crowd were incredible.
“I saw so many faces I recognised and I’m an athlete who thrives off a good crowd and a good atmosphere - it’s great that people have come out to support British athletes at an event like this.”
Brigit Kober secured Germany’s tenth gold medal out in the field, and her second, winning the shot put F34 with a season’s best 8.60m in her fourth attempt.
“I’m really happy because that was my second gold medal,” said Kober. “I threw a very good distance and I’m very proud of that because there are new rules and I didn’t know how far I could go. I’ve only had a couple of months with my new chair so it has been a difficult preparation.”
Ukraine’s Dmytro Ibragimov only registered two marks on the scoreboard in the men’s discus F46, but his throw of 49.46m – a new personal best – was enough to seal the win ahead of the world champion Nikita Prokhorov of Russia.
Lithuania secured their second gold medal of the championships, with Mindaugas Bilius winning the men’s shot put F37 with a best throw of 15.15m. And in the men’s shot put F41 gold went to Bartosz Tyszkowski of Poland, his lifetime best of 12.83m.
With the competition coming to a close in Swansea, it was time for the relays – and a final chance for Russia to add to their impressive medal tally, which they duly did.
In the women’s 4x100m T35-38, the Russian quartet anchored by 100m and 400m T38 champion Margarita Goncharova broke their own world record from the IPC Athletics European Championships two years ago, clocking 53.53, with Great Britain second in a new national record time of 53.84.
Gold went to Russia again in the men’s 4x100m T11-13 - their sprint quartet clocking 43.03, just over half a second outside the European record.
At the end of five days of competition Russia sit top of the medals table with 41 golds and 88 overall. In second place is Ukraine with 17 golds and 43 medals overall, while the hosts Great Britain finished in third with 16 gold medals and 52 overall.
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 this morning session are available in this YouTube playlist.
For further information please contact IPC Media Operations and Digital Media Co-Ordinator Laura Schreder.
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