Germany’s London 2012 Paralympic Games champion Heinrich Popow and his great Australian rival Scott Reardon shared the spoils in a thrilling 100m T42 final at the IPC Athletics World Championships in Lyon, France, on Friday (26).
Both athletes clocked 12.68 in the windy conditions and the race was eventually declared a dead heat after both men had a nervous wait.
Reardon had started well and held a slim lead as the pair battled hard towards the line but the German defending champion fought back over the final 20 metres and dipped shoulder-to-shoulder alongside Reardon.
The title was initially given to Popow but, following an appeal by the Australian team, both runners stood on top of the podium with gold medals. “The competition with Scott made me go faster. If it keeps going this way it’s going to be a tough future for me,” reflected Popow.
Chermen Kobesov ran a brilliant race in the men’s 400m T37 final to take victory in World record time if 51.88. Just 17-years-old, the Russian showed great maturity as the South African pair Fanie van der Merwe and Charl du Toit raced ahead at the gun.
Over the second half of the race, Kobesov hit the accelerator and raced for home, leaving Algeria’s Sofiane Hamdi and du Toit to take silver and bronze respectively.
Switzerland’s Marcel Hug punched the air as he crossed the line to take his fourth gold of the Championships, winning the 1,500m T54 in 3:08.16.
The 27-year-old had stayed tucked in behind Korea’s Gyu Dae Kim for most of the race, before striking for home with 250m remaining. Thailand’s Rawat Tana and Japan’s Masayuki Higuchi completed the podium.
“It means a lot to me, I made a perfect race,” he said. “This is actually my favourite distance, very tactical. I’m very happy tonight.”
Oliveira gets golden hat trick
There were no fewer than four hat tricks acquired on the seventh afternoon of competition, with Brazil’s Alan Fonteles Cardoso Oliveira picking up his third gold after clocking a championship record 48.58 in the 400m T44 final.
The 20-year-old powered down the back straight like he had done in his semifinal and had enough in the tank this time to finish comfortably clear of the American pair of Blake Leeper and David Prince, who took silver and bronze respectively.
“To run 48 when I don’t train for this distance was great. I bet my coach now asks me to do more 400 metres,” joked Oliveira.
“After what I did on the 200m, I was very happy with myself and very confident for the 400m. I only realised when I looked at the big screen and saw my opponents so far behind that I could run 48 seconds. I’m completely thrilled to go back home with three golds.”
Brent Lakatos clinched his third victory in Lyon with a win in the men’s 100m T53 final.
The Canadian clocked a championship record 14.51 into a strong head wind but still only finished 0.04 off the World record held by Great Britain’s 2012 Paralympic champion Mickey Bushell who finished with the silver medal.
“Wow, one silver and three golds!” exclaimed Lakatos. “I made a very fast start and gave everything in the last 20m. I had a very specific training for this race with a focus on the power I can develop. Everything went as planned as I will come back stronger for the next Games.”
Australia’s Evan O’Hanlon was in complete control in the men’s 400m T38 final and took his third gold of the Championships in 50.55, going one better than his silver medal position in this event two years ago.
Egvenii Shvetcov also made it a hat trick of gold medals in Lyon as he added the 400m T36 title to the 100m and 200m crowns he picked up earlier this week.
The Russian was made to work hard though by Great Britain’s 800m T36 champion Paul Blake, crossing the line just 0.45 clear of his rival in 56.27.
Tahti turns the tables
Flying Finn Leo Pekka Tahti made amends for his 200m defeat to Kenny van Weeghel two days ago when he beat the Dutchman to the line the 100m T54 final. Tahti, who set a 100m World record in taking Paralympic gold last year, stopped the clock in 14.11 while Van Weeghel had to be content with silver this time in 14.33.
“I did exactly what I wanted here in Lyon, I did a perfect race. This is not a very fast track and with the wind we had this afternoon this victory tastes a lot better,” said Tahti.
Brazil made it a one-two in the men’s 100m T11, with the World record holder and defending champion Lucas Prado taking the title in 11.45 to add to the 200m he won last Sunday, with compatriot Felipe Gomez taking the silver medal.
Gunther Matzinger recorded a season’s best of 49.45 to improve on his silver from 2011 and take the gold home in the men’s 400m T46. The Austrian had a close battle with Cuba’s Ettiam, who took the silver medal with a personal best of 49.68.
“I’m so tired,” said Matzinger. “I suffered a lot from the heat, the last 100 metres looked like hell but I stayed focussed on the finish line.”
In the field events, Mohamed Mohamed won Syria’s first gold of the World Championships with a victory in the men’s Shot Put F56/57. His best throw, a championship record of 14.12m (989), came with his final attempt.
Chinese Taipei’s Chih-Chung threw a personal best of 59.29m in the Javelin F12/13 to clinch gold medal ahead of a talented field that included all three medallists from the last World Championships New Zealand.
Alphanso Cunningham earned Jamaica’s first gold medal in Lyon as he won the men’s Javelin F52/53 in style, breaking the World record of defending champion Abdolreza Jokar with a throw of 24.30m (1105 points). The Iranian took the silver medal with 21.28 (953 points).
China’s Liu Fuliang set a new championship record of 14.76m to take the Triple Jump T46 title to add to the Long Jump crown he won on the opening day of competition. The 21-year-old also won both events at the Paralympic Games last year
Poalnd’s Ewa Durska of Poland clinched her second consecutive World title with a convincing victory in the Shot Put F20. The 36-year-old reached 13.18m, the only athlete to go beyond the 12 metres, to add to the Paralympic gold she won last year.
Chian’s Xia Dong set a championship record of 16.15m to add the World title to her 2012 Paralympic gold in the Shot Put F37.
IPC Athletics for the IAAF