All four welsh athletes that have competed so far at the World Para Athletics Championships have got on the podium with a wonderful weekend ending in Aled Davies winning Gold.
It was Gold for Aled Davies (coach: Ryan Spencer-Jones; club: Cardiff)) in Dubai who won His fourth consecutive world shot put title after a solid throw of 15.38 metres. Davies was in second place in the F63 Shot Put going into the fourth round as Luxembourg’s Tom Habscheid threw a best of 15.10m to match Davies attempt. However, the Briton never looked back and secured world title number seven with his fourth throw.
Aled, with his seven-week old daughter Phoebe in his arms said:
“This was the toughest one yet [world title] and me and my coach (Ryan Spencer-Jones). We knew things haven’t been clicking, they haven’t been coming together and this was the hardest competition of my life. There’s been so many things that have happened, and we just wanted to come here and do my best. All Ryan wanted me to do was come here and fight for it. Tom (Habscheid) put on one heck of a show. He came out and broke a world record and personal best, so he really took it to me, and it was definitely very tough, and I was lucky to hang on by a thread in the end!”
On title number four in the shot put, he added: “Fourth time – it’s very special – I think back to my first world champs in New Zealand in 2011 and I got fourth place at the age of 18, and now here we are, almost ten years later and we’re still on top of the world taking world records and winning gold medals. I’ve been dreaming too hard and too long to roll over and hand over titles. I had to fight for this one – I really did I dug deep and luckily I hung on by the skin of my teeth.”
On fatherhood, he commented: “It’s the only motivation you need. I don’t do this for me now – I’ve achieved everything I’ve wanted to achieve. Golds at every tournament and world records, so if I can keep on dominating as long as possible and show that beautiful little girl how it is done then that’s great.”
In a successful hour in Dubai, Harri Jenkins (Anthony Hughes; DSW Para Academy) reached the podium winning a Bronze medal in the men’s T33 100m. It was Jenkins first World Para Athletics Championships after winning the European Championships. In his breakthrough performance he pushed well to a time of 18.98s to get onto the podium.
Jenkins said: “It was really good. Obviously happy with the bronze. As I said before, it was going on form – I was going in third ranked in the race, but I just know I’m capable of so much more.
“I know I can do this, I know I can get there, I should be pushing with them guys, they shouldn’t be beating me like that, but I’ll get there next year, I’ll get there.”
Earlier in the day, there was a sixth career world medal for Kyron Duke (Anthony Hughes; DSW Para Academy) as he sealed bronze in the F41 shot put throwing 13.82 metres in round two.
Duke went into the competition as World Record Holder and said: “I’m happy but I really wanted that gold. There are mixed emotions, but I’ll keep my head high. I’ve done my team proud and done my country proud.
“It was a good competition. I was trying to adjust to the circle. I knew the throw was good on the second throw and it helped me to settle.
“I’m happy to be among the medals, that’s a good thing. It means I’m still there fighting, I’m still top three in the world and keep hold of the world record. The sky is the limit for me. It is a positive way to go towards 2020 now but there will be things to work on.”
Olivia Breen (coach: Aston Moore; club: City of Portsmouth) was the first Welsh athlete to compete at the Championships on Saturday and started the winning off with a fantastic Bronze in the women’s T38 long jump.
Breen, the reigning champion from London, enjoyed one the most consistent series of her career, leaping a superb 4.93 metres (-2.2) in the third round to get on the podium.
After winning bronze, Breen said: “I’m really happy; after such a long season, it was great to have such a good competition. I just gave it my all. The wind was very frustrating, but I did the best I could in those conditions. There is nothing we could do so I just went for it.
“I couldn’t believe how consistent my series was. I don’t often have that. But my training has been going so well, so I’m really pleased with how I performed.
“I came into this competition ranked third, so it means a lot to win the bronze medal. All the hard work has paid off.”
The Welsh athlete added: “I now need to get ready for the 100m, I’m so excited for that. I’m hoping for a medal but whatever happens, happens.”
After four medals by four athletes, Hollie Arnold competes today (Monday 11th November) at 2pm in the F46 Women’s Javelin hoping to get on the podium as well. Watch here: paralympics.channel4.com
Welsh Athletes Medal Tally (4):
Aled Davies – F63 Shot Put
Olivia Breen – T38 Long Jump
Kyron Duke – F41 Shot Put
Harri Jenkins – T33 100m