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Jones and Gale strike Gold

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Bev Jones

Bev Jones became the first member of the Norwich Union Great Britain and Northern Ireland team to win Gold at the 2006 International Paralympic Committee Athletics World Championships on Sunday 3 September. The 31-year-old from North Wales did it in emphatic style – breaking the F37 shot world record to strike gold. Jones (West Cheshire AC), who lives near Queensferry in North Wales, opened up with a World Championship record throw of 9.37m with her first throw. Australian Amanda Fraser threw down the gauntlet by breaking that record with a second round throw of 10.13m. But Jones hit back with a gold medal winning throw of 10.57m in the second round. The Australian responded with a personal best of 10.19m, but that still fell short of Jones’ best on the day.

 

Jones, who shrugged off a back injury in the run-up to the championships, said: “I knew I could win, but I didn’t expect to throw that far. I knew Amanda was going to try to get over the 10m-mark, but I knew I could do that too. “I didn’t feel under any pressure at all. I came into the championships feeling quite confident and I had a good training session yesterday. “It’s nice to get the team’s first medal and hopefully it will give everybody else in the team confidence.” Jones returns to action in the T37 100m semi-final tomorrow (Monday) and she also competes in the T37 200m.  “This is a weight off my mind and I can enjoy it a lot more now,” she said.

 

David Gale (Southport WSC) rounded off day one of the championships by bringing home Britain’s second gold medal, this time in the F51 discus. The Southport thrower stamped his authority on the competition with his opening three throws - breaking the existing championship record on each occasion.  He opened up with a throw of 8.97m – beating team-mate Richard Schabel’s old record by 26cm - then followed it up with throws of 9.58m and 9.65m. But Gale only won it by a couple of centimetres in the end, after Czech thrower Martin Zvolanek threw 9.63m with his fifth throw.

“I twitched a little bit then. At first I thought he’d beaten me by about a centimetre,” confided Gale.  “I’ve got three European silvers and a Paralympic Games bronze, so to get a Gold at the Worlds is brilliant. I’m very, very happy.” Schabel finished just outside the medals in fourth, with a best of 9.04m.

 

Earlier in the day Daniel West threw a personal best of 38.16m in the F33/34 discus – but he had to settle for silver behind Siamak Saleh Farajzadeh. The Iranian threw a world record of 39.98m to take gold. “It was quite tough,” said West. “I threw a personal best, so you can’t do much better than that. I thought I had a bit more in the tank, but maybe on another day. “ West, who added 16cm to his previous personal best, added: “It’s been a fantastic year for me. I’ve thrown 38m twice and 37m three times, so it’s been a good, consistent year. “I’ve got a personal best and a medal, so I’ve got to be happy with that,” said West, who also competes in the shot later in the championships.

 

Kim Minett (City of Portsmouth AC) added a bronze to Britain’s medal haul on day one of the championships. Her first round throw of 6.74m in the F40 shot was best of her series, but Gold went to Morocco’s Laila El Garaa, with a world record of 7.66m, with sister Najat El Garaa taking silver.

“I’ve got a medal, so I’m happy with that,” said the Fareham thrower. “I’ve been throwing consistently at around that distance now, so I know there’s more there to come.”

 

Britain’s Sophie Hancock (Horwich Harriers) finished just outside the medals in fifth, but with the consolation of a personal best of 6.72m. Southend athlete Robin Womack (BWAA) threw 9.30m on his international debut, finishing fifth in the F55 shot. “That was 30cm off my personal best, but I haven’t hit a pb since May, so I’m quite happy as this was my first time in a GB vest. “I’ve only been doing the sport for two years and really wanted to not freeze and to make sure I got into the final round.” The field athletes won all four medals of Britain’s medals on day one of the championships, but there were some impressive performances on the track from the contingent of young athletes in the British team.

 

Shelly Woods (British WRA) almost grabbed a bronze medal in the T54 5,000 final. The 20-year-old was just 0.81 seconds off third place. Gold went to Switzerland’s Edith Hunkeler in a championships record of 12.58.97. Woods came home fourth in 13:42.36, just behind Canada’s Diane Roy.

 

Eighteen-year-old Ben Rushgrove (City of Bath AC, TeamBath) set a personal best of 12.41 seconds to finish second in his semi-final of the T36 100m. “I’m over the moon, but now isn’t the time to get complacent,” he said. “Everything will be stepped up a bit for tomorrow’s final.”

 

Graeme Ballard (Chorley AC) was also in impressive form in his semi, finishing second in 12.69 seconds. There was also a PB for Katherine Deal (Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers) – the youngest member of the team aged just 14 - as she finished second in her semi-final of the T13 400m. She goes into Monday’s final as second fastest qualifier.

 

Sixteen-year-old Elizabeth Clegg (Border Harriers AC, Edinburgh Woollen Mill AC) set a personal best of 26.13 second in the heats of the T12 200m and was just pipped for first place in her heat, but she still goes into the final as third fastest qualifier.

 

Neil Fachie (Aberdeen AAC) progressed to tomorrow’s T13 200m final as sixth fastest qualifier, finishing third in his semi-final in 23.37 seconds.

 

David Weir (Velocity) comfortably won his T54 400m heat in a time of 51.66 seconds and then went on to win his semi-final in 51.21 seconds. Brian Alldis (BWRA) was fourth in his heat in 54.64. He went through to the semi-finals as one of the fastest qualifiers, but missed a place in the final, finishing seventh in his semi in 54.62.

 

Tracey Hinton (Cardiff AC, British Blind Sport) booked a place in the T12 800m final. Her time of 2:21.84 gave her second place in the fastest of three heats– and was the second fastest time overall – to ensure she will run in Tuesday’s final.

 

Tushar Patel (Velocity WRC) didn’t finish his T54 10,000m semi-final, which was contested in a downpour. He goes in the 1500m and marathon later in the championships.