A new event is the topic of Stuart Weir’s comment…
A new event in this year’s world championship is Race-running 100m. Athletes in the RR3 category use a ‘Race Runner’ 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. It also proved to be a good event for Britain with gold and silver in men’s and women’s.
Gavin Drysdale and Kayleigh Haggo, both from Scotland, club mates and with the same coach, won inaugural world titles. Both set new world records – 16.72s (-0.4) and Haggo 18.32s (-0.1). Rafi Solaiman and Ellie Simpson took silver.
Drysdale, who speaks with the aid of an I-pad, said afterwards: “Wow, I cannot believe it. I knew I would probably have to break the world record to win it. 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 2017 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.”
Haggo, who graduated from university in sports coaching the day before flying out to Dubai, commented: “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”. She explains for those unfamiliar with the event: “Race-running is a tricycle with no pedals. I sit on the seat, hold on to the handlebars and run with my legs which means that I don’t need to worry about falling over. I can just run”.
These are serious athletes. Haggo told me that she had been doing Race-running for nine years and that she does nine training sessions a week – track gym and swimming.
An unusual event but an important one as para athletics seeks to be more inclusive. I love to comment from Gavin Drysdale: “It gives the opportunity for people like me to compete at the highest level”. For me that is the essence of para athletics, wanting to compete and finding a way to do it.
Watch my interview with Gavin at https://twitter.com/i/status/1195447656744652801