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UK Athletics

Miller repeats golden hat-trick

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Stephen Miller
Stephen Miller With His Proud Mum

Norwich Union Great Britain and Northern Ireland athlete Stephen Miller completed a hat-trick of club titles at three successive World Championships, repeating his domination of the discipline at the last three Paralympic Games.

The 26-year-old Gateshead Harrier collected his third International Paralympic Committee Athletics World Championships club title in style by setting a championship record.

The wining throw came with his very first attempt, when he threw the club 32.56m at the championships in Assen, the Netherlands this afternoon (Friday).

It came on a day that had already seen Britain’s Ken Churchill win silver in the F37 javelin and Sally Reddin take bronze in the F54 shot, while Tracey Hinton then added her second medal of the championships, a bronze in the T12 400m.

Their efforts took the team’s medal tally to eight golds, seven silvers and six bronze medals with two days of competition remaining.

Miller’s first round throw gave him a score of 1021 points in F32/51 club event. He produced a consistent series that saw five of his six efforts going over 30m, with only his final attempt falling 60cm short.

He had to wait until the final throw to be sure of victory as his Czech rival Radim Beles went last. Despite throwing a pb during his series, Beles couldn’t catch Miller and had to settle for silver with 23.17m, worth 966 points.

“It hasn’t sunk in yet,” said Miller after completing the historic world championships hat-trick.

“I was a bit nervous because I knew if he put in a good throw at the end there was nothing I could do about it,” he added. “It was too close at the end – I should have put it to bed a lot earlier.”

Richard Schabel (BWRA), Britain’s other competitor in the event, finished ninth with a best off of 16.34m, equalling 681 points.

As Miller waited to collect his gold at the end of the session, there was just time to see Tracey Hinton add a bronze in the T12 400m to the silver she won over 800m earlier in the championships.

Running on the inside, Hinton (Cardiff AC, British Blind Sport) made the most of last bend to run herself into third place, but then had to fend off a late charge from Tunisia’s Nahjah Chouaya. She maintained her form to win with a personal best of 1:00.27, just 0.09 seconds ahead of the Tunisian.

Earlier Durham Harrier Churchill’s second round effort of 45.84m wasn’t quite enough to keep pace with China’s Xia Dong, who took F37 javelin gold with 48.84.

“I’m second best in the world and I don’t want to be second best – I want to be number one,” said Churchill afterwards. “I also want to take the world record over 55m. I’ve got something to work on in training.”

Reddin took bronze in the F54 shot at the tender age of 59. Reddin’s first throw of the competition was good enough to ensure she takes a medal back home to Lincolnshire. She opened up with 5.46m to take second place behind Eva Kacanu. The Czech thrower stretched her lead with a championship record 6.47m with her third effort, while Irena Perminiene (Lithuania) snatched silver from Reddin with her final throw of 5.53m.

“It was a really good competition and a bronze is fine,” said Reddin (BWAA), who has the satisfaction of knowing that her four-year-old world record of 6.65m remains intact. “There were some athletes here that I’ve not seen before, which is good to see.

“I’ve been the oldest member of the squad since Sydney,” she added. “I’ll carry on for as long as I’m still enjoying it and am being selected.”

Sixteen-year-old Katrina Hart (Worcester AC) set a personal best of 31.12 to finish just outside the medals in fourth in the T37 200m final. Hart produced a fine late surge to run into fourth. Britain’s Bev Jones was sixth in 33.32. Gold went to Australia’s world record holder Elizabeth McIntosh in 29.83.

Shelly Woods (BWRA) was eighth in the T54 1500m final in 3:44.99. Gold went to Edith Hunkeler (Switzerland) in 3:42.26. Britain’s Martin Crutchley (Cannock & Stafford) finished eighth in the F38 shot with a best effort of 11.62m.

Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson followed up her 1500m silver and 200m gold by booking a place in tomorrow’s 400m final. Dame Tanni won her semi in 1:02.09 – the fastest time from the two semis.

Stephen Payton produced a strong final 150m to finish second in his T38 400m semi-final and make sure of an automatic qualification spot for the final. He came second behind Tunisia’s Abbes Saidi in 54.34.

Michael Churm moved safely through to the T37 200m final. The 24-year-old Chorley AC runner finished fourth in his semi-final in 25.13 to claim one of the ‘fastest qualifiers’ berths in the final. He goes into the final with the fourth quickest time from the semis.

Ian Jones booked a place in the T44 200m final. The 16-year-old East Cheshire Harrier was fourth in the second semi-final, which saw the outstanding South African Oscar Pistorious take the world record in 21.66 seconds. Jones crossed the line in 24.58.

And 19-year-old Lee Hunter (Middlesbrough AC) made the T36 400m final. He was fifth in his semi in 1:02.11.

But Matt Cliff (Liverpool Harriers, Wirral AC) missed out on the T12 400m final. He came fourth in his semi in 54.33 seconds.

Brian Alldis (BWRA) missed the T54 800m final, finishing eight in his semi in 1:47.96.

Earlier in the day David Weir (Velocity) – already a triple gold medallist – comfortably won his first round T54 200m race.