This story was submitted on 12 November 2019. Stuart Weir is covering the IPC Championships in Dubai, UAE.
Two of my favorite British athletes were in action in Dubai. Both were successful in different ways. Sophie Hahn took gold in the T38 100m and the 200m, lowering her own world record in both events yet again to retain her crown and win her seventh and eighth major global international titles. I have genuinely lost count of the number of times I have seen her break a world record.
In the 100m Hahn showed superb focus after the field was twice asked to stand up, running the perfect race and taking 0.05 seconds off the world record she lowered in Loughborough in May, clocking 12.38 (+1.0) to win by over half a second.
Hahn said: “It was incredible. I did not expect to run that time. I wanted to get a good start and maintain that form and drive towards the line. I wanted to win the gold but I didn’t know if the world record was possible. I’m so happy that all the work I have put in has paid off. It is just amazing, I cannot believe I have run that time. This medal is very special to me. I need to rest up now to be ready for my 200m and make that final. It’s going to be another tough challenge but I’ll give it my all.” I think we can confirm that she was ready!!
Elsewhere there was a welcome return to the global stage for Libby Clegg as she qualified for the women’s 200m T11 semi-finals just over 200 days since giving birth to her first child, Edward. Clegg, and guide Tom Somers clocked 26.69 (+0.8) in the fourth of four heats to begin her medal challenge. It is clearly the year of the mother in IPC athletics, not just IPC.
Double Paralympic champion, Clegg, ran a composed race with Somers as she recorded a season’s best for second and sixth overall going into the semi-finals. She said: “It was very ropey but I’m very happy with it. It was hard work. Because I’ve not been on the international scene for so long, I was really worried going into it. I enjoyed it, I’m really happy with it. To be honest, I wasn’t really sure if I would make it through to the semi-finals. Just to be here is just amazing. Edward is seven months old tomorrow, so I didn’t think seven months ago I would be here. It has taken a lot of hard work to get here. It’s all pretty bonkers. I’m hating being away from home right now but there is a goal, and that is the Paralympics. At least I know I can leave him and I don’t get horrendously emotional, just a bit moody”. Sadly she was DQ’ed in the semi-final and again in the Universal Relay. However, she said that Dubai was all about getting back on the track after becoming a mother and that she had come with no expectations. It was about gaining confidence as she worked towards Tokyo. Mission accomplishes, if not quite in the way she expected.