GB excels at IPC World Champs in Japan.

The IPC (disability) athletics World Championships have just finished in Kobe, Japan. Yes, having a World Championship just over three months before the Paralympics is strange, but IPC is still catching up from the pandemic chaos. There was a normal World Championship in 2019 in Dubai, then the 2021 Championships were delayed until 2023 (Paris), with the 2023 Championship delayed until 2024. As far as Britain is concerned with the emphasis on the Paralympics, the GB team was smaller than usual but still performed magnificently.

GB won 12 medals as  follows:

Gold (7): Hollie Arnold [F46 Javelin], Jonathan Broom-Edwards [T64 High Jump], Hannah Cockroft [T34 100m and 800m], Aled Davies [F63 Shot Put], Sabrina Fortune [F20 Shot Put], Dan Pembroke [F13 Javelin]

Silver (2): Thomas Young [T38 100m], Universal 4x100m Relay [Zac Shaw, Kevin Santos, Ali Smith and Hannah Cockroft]

Bronze (3): Nathan Maguire [T54 800m], Zac Shaw [T12 100m], Harrison Walsh [F64 Discus]

12 medals left Britain fourth on the medal table, behind a rather dominant China (87 medals), Brazil (42, perhaps a legacy of the 2016 Paralympics), and Uzbekistan (13). The USA took 24 medals, but with only six golds, they sit behind GB.

Hannah Cockcroft, T34 champion, photo by Getty Images for IPC

The heroine of Team GB was Hannah Cockroft with two gold medals as well as contributing to a silver in the universal mixed relay [2 men, 2 women of different classifications].  Cockroft, who claimed an incredible 16th world title, said: “16 world titles are like one world title for every year I have been racing, so I am very happy. Two races within 50 minutes of each other was a big ask. I was testing it here to see if I could actually handle it. But to go out [in the 800m] and get a good start and relax – something which I don’t feel like I did so well in the heat yesterday – I’m not upset with a 1:52 and Championship record in mid-May. There is a lot of work to do, so I can only get faster from here.

“To finish on a night like this has been amazing. I hoped to do what I did in the 800m and then come back and get a silver in the relay, but I don’t know if I believed I could do it. But it is the perfect ending, and it has given me a massive confidence booster ahead of the rest of the year and the Paralympic Games.”

Hollie Arnold said of her gold medal: “Honestly, it was amazing. I have been worried sick the last two days but as soon as I walked out onto the track, I was like ‘game time, gladiator, onwards’. The emotion came out when I threw the first plus 14m. After a tough year last year, I’m so pleased to come back with two consecutive world titles”.

Sabrina Fortune, photo by Getty Images for IPC

Jonathan Broom-Edwards, who dealt with the pressure of being a Paralympic champion, won his high jump competition but only on countback. He commented afterward: “We set out a plan, put it into motion, and ticked all the boxes. There is still a lot to work on with the performance, even though it is early in the season. I am so happy with how the competition went. My body is battered now, I think I celebrated a bit too hard on the 2.04m clearance!”

Sabrina Fortune secured a third global title but only after breaking the world record twice in the competition.  She said, “It was an amazing experience, something I couldn’t have ever dreamed of…getting a world record. To throw two world records in a day is incredible. I’ve been throwing so many good throws in the last two weeks, so I wasn’t expecting any less. To hit 14m on my first throw was absolutely crazy.

An excellent performance overall, which sets Britain up well for Paris.