It was a golden moment for Stef Reid (coach: Aston Moore) as she secured her first ever world title in the T44 long jump in front of the adoring home crowd at the London Stadium.
The Paralympic silver medallist leaped her furthest distance in round three, a 5.40m jump which laid down the marker for the rest of the field. Reid used all her experience to hold on for the gold medal having led from her very first jump of the competition. She never looked in danger of losing her lead, and added to her bronze medal from the 2011 edition of these championships.
After injury ruled her out of the championships in Doha back in 2015, this was the perfect form of redemption as she sealed a joyous gold medal, beating Marlene van Gansewinkel, her Dutch rival who won bronze in Rio.
A delighted Reid commented: I’m so overwhelmed – I have been doing this for 11 years now (her first World Championships in 2006). It has taken a long time to get there so it is so satisfying to win this gold medal. A lot of athletes never get to do this so I am ever so grateful that I get the chance to do this. I am so thankful to my coach (Aston Moore) who has worked so hard for this, and to my training partners who have come down to watch me today.
“It is really satisfying to get the gold medal. It does go to show that if you work hard at something time after again, it will pay off. I was well-prepared and I like to think I put the pressure on early in the competition – I just really enjoyed it out there. I’ve been competing against these girls for a number of years and I think that just made it a lot of fun. I think that has helped me as I have got older, I have enjoyed the competitions more and that has made me a better jumper.”
Reid, who won a silver medal in the Stadium in the Queen Elizabeth Park in 2012, enjoyed a consistent series, with 5.30m in the fourth round & the rest of her jumps over five metres.
She added: “It is a once in a lifetime thing so I was taking my time out there on the track to take it all in. We are so lucky to be in this position.
“I was nervous until I walked into the stadium but once I walked in and heard the crowd cheering and saw familiar faces, the nerves settled, and I knew then that I was ready to go”.”
Zac Shaw (Joe McDonnell) was back in the stadium for his T12 100m semi-final on Saturday morning and although he improved his time on the heat last night to 11.35 (+1.0), he did not progress to this evening’s final. He was fourth in semi-final one with only four progressing to the medal race, but will return in the 200m.
Shaw commented: “I’m not going to lie, I am pretty devastated. I came into these championships wanting to win a medal so to not make the final is upsetting. You don’t get selected for Great Britain unless you believe you can challenge the best in the world. I’ll refocus on the 200m now on Wednesday.
“The crowd here were unbelievable and for this many people to turn up on a Saturday morning is amazing – you’ve got to take you hat off to them for making so much noise for every athlete. The British public have made this the best moment of my life so thanks to them for the support.”
British Athletics medallists at the World Para Athletics Championships London 2017:
Hannah Cockroft – T34 100m
Stef Reid – T44 Long Jump
Kare Adenegan – T34 100m
Gemma Prescott – F32 Club Throw
Action from the World Para Athletics Championships resumes tomorrow at 19:00 – the timetable for the championships can be found here.