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Golden Hat-trick for Weir and Gold for Dame Tanni

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Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson
Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson

David Weir completed a hat-trick of gold medals on successive days for the Norwich Union Great Britain and Northern Ireland team and Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson won her first gold medal of Assen 2006 on day five of the IPC Athletics World Championships.
 
Their performances helped increase the GB team’s medal haul to seven gold medals, six silvers and four bronzes with three days of the championships remaining.
 
Weir added the T54 100m International Paralympic Committee Athletics World Championships title to the 400m gold he won on Tuesday and the 1500m gold he took on Wednesday.
 
Weir (Velocity Wheelchair Racers) won by the slenderest of margins – winning by just one-hundredth of a second.
 
He crossed the line in 14.34 to beat Dutch racer Kenny van Weeghel into second place.
 
Afterwards Weir said: “I think that was my most satisfying win, as well as being the most difficult. The 100m isn’t my favourite event.
 
“I think I was in third place with about 100m to go. But I still feel fresh,” he added ominously – with more events still to come.
 
Dame Tanni (Cardiff AAC, New Marske Harriers) followed up her silver medal in the T53 800m yesterday with gold over 200m this afternoon.
 
She raced away form the field from the start to cross the line in 30.95 seconds, ahead of the USA’s Jessica Galli (31.11) and Italy’s Francesca Porcellato (31.62).
 
Dame Tanni, who has won 11 gold medals at five Paralympic Games, was particularly disappointed to have finished outside the medals in fourth in the 100m on Tuesday.
 
She said: “I was a bit nervous on the start line, but I’m really pleased to have won gold. I was so disappointed with my 100m, which was so flat.
 
“Coming off the bend I felt good today and I was able to relax towards the end,” she added. “The 400m will be really interesting now.”
 
Daniel West won his second medal of the championships, taking silver in the F34 shot. Lying fourth by just 3cm with a best of 8.92m after the first set of three throws, he then moved into bronze medal place with his fourth attempt, hitting 9.49m, then produced a throw of 10.31 to climb into silver medal position, before a no-throw with his final effort.
 
West (Cambridge & Colleridge, Nottingham AC) then faced an anxious wait to see if anyone could better his best – but they couldn’t. It meant West won his second silver following his F33/34 runners-up spot on the opening day of the championships.
 
A brace of silver medals made it West’s best performance yet at an international championships, while his shot silver was a repeat of his silvers at the championships eight and four years ago.
 
“I dug myself out of a bit of a hole there,” he said. “I can’t remember last time I threw late eights. After the first three throws I thought I couldn’t go home with that, particularly after such a good discus.
 
“I shouted at myself a bit in my head and got things together,” he added. “I just tried a little too hard on the last throw and lost my footing, but this has made it my best international event.”
 
West’s throw of 10.31m equalled his season’s best and followed his discus personal best on day one of the championships.
 
World record holder and defending champion Hamish MacDonald (Australia) took gold with his 10.52 with his very first throw.
 
Sixteen-year-old Elizabeth Clegg (Border Harriers AC, Edinburgh Woollen Mill) was unlucky to miss out on adding a T12 100m medal to her 200m silver. She crossed the line comfortably in second place behind Oxana Boturchuk, but was disqualified after judges decided her guide runner had crossed the line before her.
 
Hazel Simpson (Jarrow & Hebburn) just missed out on adding a T36 100m bronze medal to the bronze she won over 200m. The 27-year-old got off to a poor start in this afternoon’s race, but ran through the field, only just missing third place. Simpson crossed the line in 15.32 seconds. China’s Wang Fang completed a sprint double setting a championships record of 14.19 seconds to take gold.
 
“My start wasn’t very good, but I tried really hard,” said Simpson. “I think I’m a bit stronger at 200m than I am at 100m.”
 
Sophie Hancock (Horwich Harriers) and Kim Minett (City of Portsmouth AC) finished outside the medals in the F40 discus. Hancock came sixth with a best of 18.25 while Minett was eighth with 13.30. Gold and silver went to sisters Najat and Laila El Garaa respectively. They produced some outstanding throws – Najat added more than four metres to the world record with a best of 23.66m.
 
Day five of the championships also saw the first appearance of the men’s T46 800m runners. Britain’s Danny Crates, the reigning Paralympic champion, made sure of his place in Saturday’s final by wining the first semi-final in 1:58.99.
 
“I’ve never been more nervous than I have leading into this championships,” he said. “I’ve never won the worlds before and I want it so badly, so there’s a lot of pressure on me.
 
“The heats are always tough, but I’m glad to get the first race out of the way,” he added.
 
Keith Gardner (Red Star AC) came sixth in the F36 discus final. His first round throw of 31.01m was the best of his series in a competition that saw each of the top four better their personal bests. Gold went to Poland’s Pawel Piotrowski with 34.52m.
 
Shelly Woods (BWRA) looked impressive as she won the first semi-final of the T54 1500m this afternoon. She sat on the shoulder of Swiss racer Sandra Graf-Mittelholzer until the final bend, before surging past her to cross the line first in 3:43.16. The second semi was slightly quicker, with Edith Hunkeler (Switzerland) winning in 3:41.32.
 
Tracey Hinton (Cardiff AC, British Blind Sport) followed up her silver medal in the T12 800m by finishing second in her T12 400m heat to move safely through to the next round. She recorded a time of 1:02.37.
 
Katrina Hart (Worcester AC) and Bev Jones (West Cheshire AC) both qualified for the T37 200m final. Hart set a personal best of 31.45 to finish second in her semi-final, while Jones – gold medallist in the T37 shot on day one of the championships – was fourth in her semi in 32.59.
 
Matt Cliff (Liverpool Harriers, Wirral AC) was third in his T12 400m heat on Thursday morning in 53.96 – a time good enough to earn a place in the next round.
 
Brian Alldis’ (BWRA) fourth place in 1:45.03 in the first heat of the T54 800m gave him a ‘fastest qualifiers’ berth in the next round.