The Australian medal tally continued to grow on day two of the World Para-Athletics Championships at Queen Elizabeth Park, with three silver and one bronze medal added to the collection.
Beginning the medal haul for the day was Guy Henly (NSW), who threw a massive 53.59m in his sixth and final attempt in the F37 discus.
Henly, who secured his second consecutive silver at a world championships was proud of his result, after a disappointing fourth place finish at Rio 2016.
“I went into the circle for that last throw, thinking about nothing, just trying to blank everything out and just go out there throw the best throw I could,” Henly said.
“When I saw that number come up, I was gobsmacked. It was one of those rare throws that seemed effortless and it just flew. It was exciting. I’ve managed to put it all together when I needed to, which is pure joy.”
Rheed McCracken (QLD) put on a nail-biting show T34 100m event. Although he broke the world record in May this year (14.92), McCracken was unable to claim his maiden world title, clocking in at 15.40s (+0.3) – just 0.4s shy of gold medallist, Tunisia’s Walid Ktila.
“It’s mixed emotions for me right now. There’s a lot of people that would kill to have a silver medal, and it’s two places better than what we did in Doha in 2015, but I felt like I was there (at that level) in May. Although I question what it is going to take to win, I know it’s something I’m still learning,” said the Newcastle based wheelchair racer.
“I proved that I have what it takes by breaking the world record, it’s just about doing it when it counts.”
At her sixth world championships, Angie Ballard (ACT) claimed her 11th world championships medal in the T53 200m. While the defending world champion lost her crown in the event, it took a world record from UK’s Sama Kinghorn to beat Ballard’s 29.09s (+0.5) time.
“I was happy with what I put together but Sam was just a little bit faster on the day. I remember my first world champs gold, and it’s a really special moment and it was kind of cool to see it, even though I was second to it,” Ballard said.
The 2015 world champion for athletes with an intellectual disability, Todd Hodgetts (Tas) took to the world stage with pride, and secured bronze for his 15.96m throw.
While the world record for the event was broken in the first throw, by Malaysia’s Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli, Hodgetts knows what it will take for him to win back both his world and Paralympic title come 2019 and 2020.
“Today was way better than Rio already. There were a few kerfuffles, but I came back strong in the last throw like the champion that I am,” Hodgetts said.
“I don’t hold back and I never give up. (To Zolkefli) Congratulations, but I’m working on a few techniques and strategies, so this is not the end. I’m going to continue until I’m 40,” he exclaimed.
Another exceptional result of the day was from Sarah Walsh (NSW) who narrowly missed out on a podium finish, placing fourth in the T44 long jump.
While she got off to a rocky start, having fouled her first two jumps, Walsh surged forward to jump 4.85m in her fourth attempt; her best international result in her burgeoning career,
“Distance-wise it wasn’t my best, but fourth is the best that I’ve placed on the world stage, and it was 1cm further than in Rio. It’s always great to have done one better than your last international competition,” said Walsh.
“I fouled two big ones at the beginning, so I was pretty conservative on my third jump. I was able to give it a bit more of a go, but fourth is what I came away with and I’m pretty happy with that.”
In other results from day two, Ella Pardy (WA) and Torita Blake (QLD) both raced in the T38 200m for athletes with neurological impairments, and placed fifth and seventh respectively.
Supremo wheelchair racers Madison de Rozario (WA), and Jemima Moore (Vic) along with Ballard showed the world that Australia is in contention for the T54 1500m world title.
De Rozario qualified first, with a time of 3.27:37, with Ballard and Moore coming in at a time of 3:29.53 and 3:29.68 respectively. All three will compete in the final on Sunday night (BRT).
Dual Paralympian Michael Roeger (SA) was also due to compete tonight in the T46 1500m but pulled out due to injury.
To view results and entry lists for the World Para-Athletics Championships, please click here.
Australians at home can catch all the action via a live stream at www.paralympic.org.au/ParaSportLive