Competing in her fourth discipline of the week following double gold over 100m and 200m accompanied by 400m bronze, Sammi Kinghorn (coach: Ian Mirfin) rounded off a memorable ten days of World Para Athletics championships action with a fantastic fifth place finish over 800m as the championships came to a close in London.
Taking to the start line in wet and windy conditions following the heaviest downpour of the championships late this afternoon, and racing in her least familiar event having cut her racing teeth as a sprinter, the T53 athlete had nothing to lose having already scooped an incredible three medals at just her second world championships.
With the nine-strong field cautiously pushing through the first 200m, the young Scot worked her way into a strong position as they came into the home straight for the first time.
With Chinese representative Hongzhaun Zhou leading the field through at the 400m mark in something of a cautious 1:02.52, the pace was visibly notched at the bell with some of the final medals of the championships up for grabs.
Leading the charge in a red-hot final lap, Zhou looked strong and commanding down the back straight, with Australia’s Rozario and the USA’s McClammer hot on her shoulder with Kinghorn fighting to stay in contention with the trio.
As they came into the final bend the trio, the eventual gold, silver and bronze medal winners respectively, would push on to consolidate the medal positions, with Turkey’s Hamide Kurt pushing well to the line to pinch fourth ahead of Kinghorn, who clocked 1:57.04 for a highly-commendable fifth in what was her fifth race in eight days.
“I felt fine (after this morning’s 100m final in which she won gold) – 800m isn’t my strongest event and I know that, it’s just the tactics that I struggle with,” said Kinghorn post-race.
“Being the youngest athlete out there, the girls kind of pushed me around and I tried to feel my way through, so it was tough, but I’ve got to keep fighting at the event. Every time I do an 800m I learn a little more each time, and eventually I’ll be as good as the other girls out there; hopefully I’ll have that speed at the end, too.”
Speaking on how the race played out through her eyes, she added: “It’s quite tough; because I have the fastest start I often find myself at the front fairly often – it’s really hard to go out slow!
“Obviously I try to do that but you naturally pick up speed as that’s what your taught every day in training. Obviously I found myself at the front in that race and the Chinese kind of cut me up – I probably should have sat behind her on her draft – but again it’s about learning more and more.
On the overall championships experience, she concluded: “It’s been incredible, it really has. I hoped I’d win one medal, but to win three with two gold has been incredible. My class is so unbelievably competitive, so I think it’s going to take a couple of months for it to actually sink in properly.
“I’m going to see all my family and friends now – I’ve got 23 people here who have come to watch me, so I’ll enjoy the incredible things that have happened at these championships before going back into training again.”
After a terrific personal best of 27.91 (-1.5) in her T44 200m heat yesterday for second place, sadly Laura Sugar (Femi Akinsanya) withdrew from this evening’s final due to a hamstring injury, leaving Kinghorn as the lone Brit for the final session of what has been an unforgettable championships in London.
Reflecting on the most successful world championships for the British team since the turn of the century, British Athletics Para Athletics Head Coach Paula Dunn said:
“In winning 39 medals, we have achieved unprecedented success at a modern-day global championships for our sport, while also surpassing the medal target of 26-30 set by UK Sport.”
“And while we celebrate medals and the accompanying joy they bring to both the individuals and the team, it’s also hugely important to remember the mass of other positives we have seen at these championships, too”
“In total, we have seen twenty-two personal bests, seven world records and eleven championship records, while many others have done the British vest proud by qualifying for finals, securing top eight finishes and supporting one another fiercely throughout the championships, all of which are hugely important building blocks as we continue to look towards Tokyo 2020.”
British Athletics medallists (39) at the World Para Athletics Championships London 2017:
Hollie Arnold – F46 Javelin
Olivia Breen – T38 Long Jump
Hannah Cockroft – T34 100m, 400m, 800m
Kadeena Cox – T38 400m
Aled Davies – F42 Discus, Shot Put
Sophie Hahn – T38 100m, 200m
Georgie Hermitage – T37 100m, 400m
Sophie Kamlish – T44 100m
Sammi Kinghorn – T53 100m, 200m
Jonnie Peacock – T44 100m
Stef Reid – T44 Long Jump
Richard Whitehead – T42 200m
Kare Adenegan – T34 100m
Jonathan Broom-Edwards – T44 High Jump
Mickey Bushell – T53 100m
Kadeena Cox – T38 100m
Kyron Duke – F41 Shot
Toby Gold – T33 100m
Jordan Howe – T35 100m
Polly Maton T47 Long Jump
Kare Adenegan – T34 400m, 800m
Richard Chiassaro – T54 400m
Kadeena Cox – T38 200m
David Henson – T42 200m
Sammi Kinghorn – T53 400m
Maria Lyle – T35 100m, 200m
Stephen Miller – F32 Club Throw
Gemma Prescott – F32 Club Throw
Andrew Small – T33 100m
Isaac Towers – T34 800m
Richard Whitehead – T42 100m