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Final Wrap: Aussies finish fifth on medal table

Monday, 24 July 2017 | Athletics Australia



The final day of competition at the 2017 World Para Athletics Championships in London were capped off by an impressive third gold medal performance from James Turner.

The rising stars of para-athletics, Turner, 21, and young sprint star Isis Holt, 16, were the headline duo for the Australians combining for five of the eleven gold medals won in the English capital.

Finishing the championships with 28 medals, Australia placed fifth on the medal table, four positions higher than the last world championships in Doha in 2015.

Team Australia's medal tally also trumps that of the athletics team's performance in Rio, collecting two more medals than last year's Australian Paralympic team's effort, and a further eight golds.

London 2017 reaffirms Australia's position among the top performing para-athletics nations, with powerhouses China (65), USA (59), Great Britain (39) and Ukraine (29) the only nations to finish above Australia.

Among the highlights of the Aussies in London were the aforementioned James Turner, who went three from three through the championships winning gold in the T36 200m, 400m and 800m events.

The 800m world record holder from the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games puts down his success down to a well-executed race plan but also the mental work he has done with his coach Brett Robinson.

“I couldn’t have dreamed up a better conclusion to this race and this championships. It’s so uplifting, so invigorating,” he said.

Fellow youngster Holt was also elated after her second championships experience, after gold medal performances in the T35 100m and 200m.

The 16-year-old Melbournian found herself in hospital with tonsillitis just two weeks before departing for London, she believes she is lucky to even had the opportunity to compete.

“I wasn’t even sure if I’d be here in London, so to be able to come out here and run a time like that, I can’t get over that,” Holt said.

On day 4 of the championships Scott Reardon proved he is the undisputed king of the track in the 100m T42, after claiming he claimed his third consecutive world title in the event; an achievement no T42 athlete before him has done.

Flying across the track in a time of 12.21 (-0.4), ahead of Denmark’s Daniel Wagner (12.30) and home crowd favourite Richard Whitehead (12.39), Reardon believes his success in his quest for gold came down to a well-executed race plan.

“I came here with a plan to execute the first 20m of the race and put a bit of pressure on the rest of the guys,” said the Temora native.

“I think there’s a thought that I can’t run very fast because of my little legs, but when I execute a race well and I’m out in front, I’m tough to catch. I did that well, and that’s what matters most at a championships like this.”

Fellow sprinter and Australia’s fastest Paralympian Evan O’Hanlon overcome his bitter disappointment in Rio, after regaining his crown as the world’s fastest athlete with cerebral palsy.

O’Hanlon, who had famously remained undefeated in the 100m T38 until the Rio Paralympic Games, reclaimed the number one spot crossing the line in 11.07s (-1.6), ahead of China’s Jianwen Hu, who clocked in just millimetres behind.

Coming down to a photo decider, it was the Australian who claimed victory; a medal performance he claims as his career best.

“Coming into these World Championships, it’s the most pressure I’ve ever been under. Every other time in my career, I knew I could win from the start line, but after coming second in Rio, I had to prove that I am number one,” the 29-year-old said.

31-year-old debutant Cameron Crombie (ACT) won the first world title of the Championships in the F38 shot put for athletes with neurological impairments, throwing 15.95m – more than one metre than his previous personal best.

“I’m a bit lost for words. This is fantastic, I couldn’t have hoped for a better result. I wouldn’t have dreamt it,” said Crombie.

“London 2017 has been an outstanding championship for the Australian team," Athletics Australia Paralympic Program Manager Andrew Faichney said. 

"We exceeded the number of gold medals and the total number of medals won at both Rio 2016 and the world championships in Doha in 2015 and have established ourselves as a team to be contended with as we enter the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games cycle."

“We have exceeded the targets we were set as part of the Australian Institute of Sport’s Winning Edge, and a number of athletes that have Commonwealth Games events, including Isis Holt, Cameron Crombie and Evan O’Hanlon, won gold here to put them in the box seat for continued success on the Gold Coast next year."

“The 37 athletes that have competed here, the team staff that surrounded them and the personal coaches, family and friends that supported their preparation must be commended for their efforts."

"The squad was as cohesive and professional as we could have hoped for and I thank them for their dedication. Each and every person here has represented Australia to the best of their ability, and that’s all we could ask for.”

To read each daily report from the 2017 World Para Athletics Championships click here