World Para-athletics Championships: Richard Whitehead wins one of five gold medals for Great Britain

Richard Whitehead led a glorious night as Great Britain claimed five gold medals on day two of the World Para Athletics Championships in London.

After wheelchair racer Hannah Cockroft’s gold on Friday’s first day, Stef Reid won T44 long jump for her first major global title on Saturday morning.

And Whitehead won T42 200m, Sophie Hahn triumphed over the same distance in the T38 class and Sammy Kinghorn won the T53 200m, while Hollie Arnold secured an emphatic victory in the F46 javelin to take the hosts’ tally to six golds.

For Whitehead the victory in an event he has twice won at Paralympic Games was reminiscent of his success five years ago at London 2012.

“As you come off the bend it just reignites those memories of 2012,” said Whitehead, after a fourth successive world title over the distance.

“That whirlwind effect of pulling you to the finish line. When you’re a British athlete and you’re able to do it in your home stadium, it’s special.”

The Nottingham runner, a double amputee, clocked a championship record of 23.26 seconds. 


Arnold was victorious in the F46 javelin (Getty)

South Africa’s Ntando Mahlangu took silver in 23.95secs and Briton Dave Henson, the Paralympic bronze medallist, was third again, in 24.73s. Mahlangu is just 15.

Whitehead set the world record of 23.01 in Switzerland last month, but is 41 next Wednesday and has previously suggested he could be about to retire.

“I’m not considering that at the moment,” Whitehead added. “It’s all about one race at a time and I don’t want to get ahead of myself.”

The 100m takes place on Monday. Whitehead took Paralympic silver in the event in Rio and has never won a world title over the shorter distance.

Arnold successfully defended her world title with a fine series of throws, the best of which saw her improve her own world record by one centimetre to 43.02 metres.

Arnold finished fifth at London 2012, but won the 2016 Paralympic title and now has a third straight world title.

“I just feel amazing – 2012 wasn’t what I wanted, but I wanted to go out there and destroy the girls and that’s what I did,” Arnold said.

Reid began the gold rush on day two and was overjoyed to shed her serial silver status. The 32-year-old, who won Paralympic silver in 2012 and 2016, leapt to a best of 5.40 metres.

“There’s that part of your brain where you think ‘Gosh, I don’t want to be the silver girl forever’,” said Reid, a single lower-leg amputee.

“And you have all sorts of questions that go through your head. You’ve just got to be tough, as a person that keeps on coming back, keeps on trying.

“I started in 2006, it’s now 2017 and I am finally in the middle of the podium. That’s what it takes sometimes.”


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