World Records fall at London Anniversary Games

Richard Whitehead celebrates a win (Photo: Craig Morey used under Creative Commons License)

As London celebrates the fourth anniversary of their hosting of the Olympic Games with the Diamond League, Paralympic athletes were also invited to the party. London hosted the final round of the IPC Athletics Grand Prix at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

The big story of the day was the two crowd pleasing World Records broken as British athletes Richard Whitehead and Libby Clegg managed World Records. It may seem odd to see a world record broken so close to the main event, but that shows that these two athletes have more in the tank.

Whitehead celebrated turning 40 this week in perfect fashion as he broke his own World Record for the second time in two weeks. Running the T42 200m in a time of 23.03 Whitehead wiped almost half a second off his own world record.

Despite breaking his own world record, yet again, Whitehead was not completely satisfied and looked to Rio. “The goal is to go to Rio and put a solid 22 in,” said Whitehead. “I still want to lower that world record today.”

After being reclassified this month to T11, Clegg managed to get past that, the fact that she has a new guide (Chris Clarke) and that she is now in a category where she wears a blindfold to break a world record. Clegg ran her 200m in a time of 24.44, breaking the World Record of Terzinha Guilihermina which was set on the same track four years ago.

There was a star studded field for the T44 100m, with Jarryd Wallace just holding off Jonnie Peacock in 10.80. The women’s version of the race was won by the Dutch legend, Marlou van Rhijn in a time of 12.84, overhauling Brit Sophie Kamlish.

Hannah Cockroft made a strong case for being favorite heading to Rio as she cruised to a victory in the T34 100m. There was more British gold in the T38 100m as Sophie Hann won in a 12.66, not even 0.10 seconds off the world record.

In the men’s T47 100m, Michal Derus did just enough to hold off the Brazilian 200m champion Yohansson Nascimento for a 10.85 season’s best. Brent Lakatos won the T53 version of the race in a time of 14.31 while Fanie van der Merwe won the T37 100m with an 11.61.

The 1500m events were also contested on Saturday, with Swiss athlete Marcel Hug winning the T54 convincingly, in a time of 3:19.73. The Swiss made it a double when Manuela Schar won the women’s edition of the same event, getting in front with 300m to race.

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