Great Britain’s five-time Paralympic champion Hannah Cockroft has experienced a lot during her career but still could not anticipate what Sunday’s morning session reserved for her at the Dubai 2019 World Para Athletics Championships.
Hurricane Hannah smashed the women’s 100m T34 world record (16.77) to clinch her 11th World Championships gold medal.
“I remember sitting on the start line and then crossing the finish line, that’s literally it. I came into this race really calm. I knew I’d worked as hard as I could to be here. We were all chatting on the start line and it was all a lot of fun,” Cockroft said.
The British wheelchair racer was even more surprised with her time.
“I haven’t dipped below 17 seconds ever in my career, not even in training, so I have no idea where that came from. But I’m so pleased it did on race day.”
The gold has given confidence to Hannah about the future, as she now is hoping for more surprises next year at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
“Now I’m a little bit confident for Tokyo but I don’t want to be too confident. This year in Nottwill [World Para Athletics GP] I also won gold and silver but that is just making me work harder.”
Great Britain’s captain, Kare Adenegan, secured silver (17.49) and Alexa Kalko from USA got bronze with 18.83.
“I really wanted to come and win the gold. I would have been happy with silver because I know Kare has been working hard. She is strong and was the world record holder,” Cockroft said about Great Britain’s one-two finish.
Sunday’s first world record came in the men’s shot put F12 with Ukraine’s Roman Danuliuk (16.69). Spain’s Kim Gonzalez Lopez got silver (15.69) and Elbek Sultonov from Uzbekistan, the bronze (15.39).
Barbara Niewiedzial’s first appearance in a Worlds was in Birmingham 1998. More than 20 years later and she still is the one to beat in the women’s 1500m T20.
The Polish runner took her sixth world title (4:36.10) ahead of Ukraine’s Liudmyla Danylia (4:40.86) and IIona Biacsi of Hungary (4:43.16).
“I am used to being the world champion of the 1500m and I can’t imagine not being in the top of my discipline,” Niewiedzial said with a big smile in her face.
“I am still working hard and doing my best to stay in the top and it is working.”
USA’s Lex Gillette won his fourth world title in a row in the men’s long jump T11 (6.45) with China taking silver and bronze through Xingyu Chen (6.43) and Dongdong Di (6.33), respectively.
“Tokyo is always in mind, but now I will go home, take a few days off and enjoy this.” said Gillete.
China extended their lead in the medals table to eight golds with two victories on Sunday morning. Lijuan Zou won the women’s javelin throw F34 (19.33) and Juan Yao the women’s discus throw F64 (38.78).
Uzbekistan secured the second gold medal in Dubai with Bobirjon Omonov in the men’s shot put F41 (14.03).
The rainy morning session also saw Germany’s Johannes Floors break the men’s 100m T62 world record in the heats (10.54).
South Africa’s first gold medal at the Dubai 2019 World Championships came through a familiar face with a different name.
Anrune Weyers won the women’s 400m T47 with a championship record (55.79), something that not even the 27-year-old sprinter expected to achieve.
“Last year was really tough because of injuries. It has been a miracle to run here, because I just had six weeks of training [after a surgery] so this is has been amazing. I’m really thankful to be injury free and run,” Weyers said.
It was her second world title. Four years after the first one in Doha.
Back then, the name of the gold medallist on the screen was Anrune Liebenberg. But the South African said she decided to use her husband’s surname because of the unconditional support she feels from her partner.
“I am proud to have Weyers on my name now because it’s kind of a part of him with me in athletics. He’s the person who is always me.”
China’s Lu Li took silver (58.61) and Lisbeli Vera of Venezuela, bronze (58.98).
Great Britain’s Aled Davies also had a lot to celebrate with his family. His fourth world shot put title was followed by a very special fan, his seven-week old daughter Phoebe.
“This was the toughest one yet [world title]. Me and my coach [Ryan Spencer-Jones] knew things haven’t been clicking, they haven’t been coming together and this was the hardest competition of my life,” Davies said, with Phoebe in his arms.
On being a world champion father, he said:
“It’s the only motivation you need. I don’t do this for me now – I’ve achieved everything I’ve wanted to achieve. Golds at every tournament and world records, so if I can keep on dominating as long as possible and show that beautiful little girl how it is done then that’s great.”
Luxembourg’s Tom Habscheid finished in second place (15.10) and Iran’s Sajad Mohammadian in third (14.39).
Davies’ was Great Britain’s second gold in the evening session. The first came with Marie Lyle in the women’s 100m T35.
Three new world records were set in an evening session of mild temperatures in Dubai following a rainy afternoon.
James Turner of Australia broke the men’s 100m T36 world record in 11.72.
“I was always planning to be head [of the race], everybody is. I’m now thinking about the 400m and there is a lot of hard work to do. This is a really good preparation for me, this is a really good test event for me before Tokyo [2020 Paralympics].”
China’s Yifei Yang took silver (11.79) and Malaysia’s former world record holder Mohamad Puzi, bronze (11.97).
China’s Xiaoyan Wen smashed the women’s long jump T37 (5.22) ahead of USA’s Jaleen Roberts (4.81) and Poland’s Marta Piotrowska (4.45).
The third world record set on Sunday evening meant Jordan’s first gold at Dubai 2019. Ahmad Hindi bettered his own mark with 12.17 meters. Iran’s Mehran Nikoeimajd won silver (11.41) and Mauricio Valencia of Colombia took the bronze medal (11.35).
China remain on top of the medals table with nine golds followed by Brazil with six. Thalita Simplicio in the women’s 400m T11 (56.85) and Daniel Martins’ third world title in the men’s 400m T20 (47.62) bagged the Brazilian golds on Sunday.
After finishing third in the 400m T13, Paralympic champion Leilia Adzhametova got her revenge in the women’s 100m T13 giving Ukraine their fifth world title at Dubai 2019.
Wheelchair racer Walid Ktila grabbed his second victory in Dubai and Tunisia’s third gold medal in the men’s 100m T34.
For Germany and India, Sunday brought the second gold. Indian thrower Sundar Gurjar’s won the men’s javelin F46 (61.22) while German jumper Leon Schaefer dominated the men’s long jump T63 (6.90).
South Africa was not the only country to top the podium for first time on Sunday. Ahmad Almutairi was received with drums beating by Kuwait fans following his victory in the men’s 100m T33 (17.08).
Zeljko Dimitrijevic gave Serbia their first win at Dubai 2019 in the men’s club throw F51 (33.82).
All medallists, records and results from the World Para Athletics Championships can be found on the Dubai 2019 microsite https://www.paralympic.org/dubai-2019/.
Competition resumes on Monday and you can follow live on World Para Athletics website www.worldparaathletics.org, Facebook www.facebook.com/ParaAthletics and Twitter pages www.twitter.com/ParaAthletics.