Great Britain & Northern Ireland finished third in the medal table, behind China and the USA, winning an incredible 39 medals at the IPC World Athletics Championships held in London over the past nine days. The tally, which includes 18 golds, is GB’s best since the Birmingham Championships in 1998.
The London Stadium, which hosted the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, once again delivered an incredible event; showcasing para athletics to the masses, with more than 230,000 spectators attending. In context, this is more than in all eight of the previous championships combined! The word ‘legacy’ springs to mind……
This unprecedented success has prompted UK Athletics, with the support of the British Paralympic Association, to enter into negotiations to repeat the feat by bringing the next IPC World Championships back to London in 2019.
Central to proceedings in London was a quartet of talented Scots, who claimed three gold medals and three bronze medals between them.
Stef Reid became World Champion in the T44 Long Jump, delivering the first of ‘Scotland’s’ gold medals, prior to spending the rest of the Championships on Channel 4’s sofa, working as a pundit! With an undoubted talent for broadcasting, she demonstrated her in depth insight and knowledge of all track and field disciplines.
East Lothian’s teenage sprinter, Maria Lyle, equalled her Rio 2016 Paralympic medal haul of two bronze medals in the T35 100m and 200m, whilst F51 Club Throw Paralympic Champion, Jo Butterfield MBE, finished in fourth place and had to withdraw from the Discus due to injury.
However, one of the stars of the Championships was Borderer, Samantha Kinghorn, who became double World Champion in the T53 100m and 200m. Her 200m achievement was a new World Record! Sammi also claimed a bronze medal in the 400m and a fifth place finish in the 800m, to showcase her ability across a range of distances at the extremely young age (for a wheelchair racer) of 21. The achievement is all the more remarkable, considering 10 months ago, she returned empty handed from Rio last summer. This highlights the huge amount of work she has put in with her coach, and Scottish Athletics’ Para Events Lead, Ian Mirfin MBE.
Although, well known in Scotland, Sammi’s profile has grown considerably across the globe due to her performances on the track, as well as her incredibly positive and insightful post-race interviews. Below are several quotes taken from the media over the course of the Championships:
“My class isn’t an easy one to win, but I’ve spent the last year getting a bit stronger and just learning so much. I also got a new chair in February and it’s just a bit lower and a bit more aerodynamic. It’s been a big learning curve. I knew that I wanted it after Rio. I wanted it more than anything. I wanted to be the best in the world so I’ve just trained and trained every session.” The Scotsman, 24 July 2017
“I really just believe this is the start,” she said. “I have got so much more to give. I am still only 21, have still not reached maturity yet. They reckon 28 is when we start to mature so I have still got a lot of time, and I hope this year I can keep getting faster and faster.” Evening Standard, 24 July 2017
“I’d love to be as good as Tatyana McFadden and compete at every distance and smash them all. I’d love to be the first T53 to go under 16 seconds so that’s my aim between now and Tokyo. Hopefully, one day I can be unbeatable.” Evening Standard, 24 July 2017
“I hoped I’d win one medal, but to win three with two gold has been incredible. My class is so unbelievably competitive, so I think it’s going to take a couple of months for it to actually sink in properly.” British Athletics, 23 July 2017
Scottish Disability Sport is incredibly proud of all our athletes and we wish them every success on the Track-to-Tokyo…..