Gavin Drysdale (coach: Ian Mirfin; club: Red Star) and Kayleigh Haggo (Mirfin; Red Star) won inaugural world titles in the RR3 100m category, otherwise known as Race Running, which made its first appearance at the World Para Athletics Championships on the final day of action in Dubai, as the Great Britain & Northern Ireland team ended the campaign on 29 medals.
European champion Gavin Drysdale added the world title in dramatic fashion, as he lowered the world record to 16.72s (-0.4) – an improvement from 17.24s, the previous global best. The Scot got a great start and powered away from his teammate Rafi Solaiman (Philip Fleetwood; Sheffield & Dearne) to become the inaugural men’s RR3 (race running) champion, while Solaiman bagged the silver to make it two Briton’s on the podium, his time recorded at 17.38s.
Athletes in the category use a ‘RaceRunner’ which is a three wheeled frame where the athlete is supported by a saddle and body plate. The athlete propels against the frame using their feet, and steers using the mobility within their hands and/or arms.
Drysdale spoke afterwards: “Wow, I cannot believe it. I knew I would probably have to break the world record to win it. I want to dedicate this gold medal to my late coach, Janice Eaglesham. She would have been so proud.
“It is absolutely amazing to have race running in the world championships for the first time. It gives the opportunity for people like me to compete at the highest level. I remember watching London two years ago wishing I could compete, so to be here two years later is a bit surreal.
“Being here in Dubai is amazing. I have loved being part of the GB team again. When I went to Berlin (for the Europeans) last year it was so much bigger than I was used to, but this has been on another level.”
Solaiman, a European medallist in 2018, added: “I won silver at the Europeans last year, and I’m happy to win my first world medal. It’s a great feeling. I’m so happy for Gavin on winning the gold.
“It seems a bit phenomenal that we got a 1-2. It’s just a bit out of this world, it is crazy. It’s quite some achievement for two British lads and two girls to be on the podium. We are coming back with a load of shiny medals.”
There was more of the same in the women’s race as Kayleigh Haggo (Ian Mirfin; Red Star) bagged her first world title also in world record time.
The 20-year-old was pushed all the way by her teammate Ellie Simpson (Jessica Davidson; Sheffield & Dearne), the pair separated by just 0.55s in the end with personal best times of 18.32s (-0.1) and 18.87s respectively to earn their moment on top of the podium.
The European silver medallist, Haggo, graduated from university in sports coaching the day before flying out to Dubai, and despite her busy schedule, she delivered an exceptional performance at the Dubai Club for Peoples of Determination.
On her first world title, Haggo reflected: “I’m so happy, to come away with gold at the world championships, I can’t believe it. I’ve got a personal best and a world record so I can’t ask for anything more than that.
“My start wasn’t very good so after that I just had to run fast and put my head down. To represent Great Britain is amazing and to represent them and do well is a great honour and to win that for my friends and family, I don’t know what to say.
“I’ve done a few fast times this year and knew I could do a world record, it was all about just going and doing it on the day.”
Simpson, on her senior debut for GB & NI, said after the race: “I can’t believe it. I was really nervous because I wasn’t sure what was going to happen but then the gun went so I ran for it and came away with second place.
“I can’t believe that I got a PB because I didn’t think I had it in me, but I can’t wait to get on the podium, I’m so excited.”
Also on the track, Jordan Howe (Kevin Williams; DSW Para Academy) gave it his all but could not match his silver medal from the World Championships in London two years ago as he came home sixth in 12.86s (0.4) in the T35 100m final.
The race won in a world record 11.77s by Ukraine’s Ihor Tsvietov in a lightening quick race.
Isaac Towers (Pete Wyman; Kirkby AC) and Ben Rowlings (Mirfin; Coventry) brought the curtain down on the British representation at these championships with respective sixth and seventh place finishes in the T34 800m final.
Rowlings looked in contention at the bell, sitting just outside the medal places but the pace dramatically stepped up on the final lap and the pair could not keep pace with the breakaway group, which saw Mohamed Alhammadi (UAE) break the championship record to take the title in 1:44.36.
Towers, who was at the back of the field with 300m to go, pushed hard to regain two further places and stopping the clock in 1:48.02, with Rowlings following him home in 1:48.46.
British Athletics Medal Tally (29):
Hollie Arnold – F46 Javelin
Paul Blake – T36 800m
Jonathan Broom-Edwards – T64 High Jump
Hannah Cockroft – T34 100m & 800m
Aled Davies – F63 Shot Put
Gavin Drysdale – RR3 100m
Sabrina Fortune – F20 Shot Put
Kayleigh Haggo – RR3 100m
Sophie Hahn – T38 100m & 200m
Maria Lyle – T35 100m & 200m
Kare Adenegan – T34 100m & 800m
Jo Butterfield – F51 Club Throw
Kadeena Cox – T38 400m
Derek Rae – T46 Marathon*
Ellie Simpson – RR3 100m
Rafi Solaiman – RR3 100m
Andrew Small – T33 100m
Richard Whiteheaad – T61 200m
Thomas Young – T38 100m
Olivia Breen – T38 Long Jump
Richard Chiassaro – T54 400m
Kyron Duke – F41 Shot Put
Harri Jenkins – T33 100m
Sammi Kinghorn – T53 100m
Vanessa Wallace – F34 Shot Put
*The WPA Championship marathons took place at the London Marathon earlier this year.
Results can be found at https://www.paralympic.org/dubai-2019/schedule/.