More medals on final day of track and field
29-Jul-2013 12:00 AM
Unbelievable gusty conditions have not deterred Rheed McCracken (Qld) from winning SILVER and Angela Ballard (NSW) and Carly Salmon (NSW) BRONZE on the final day of in-stadium competition at the IPC Athletics World Championships.
Competing in his fourth event of the Championships, and delivering his fourth medal, McCracken’s 53.71 saw him narrowly defeated for the gold medal by Walid Ktila (TUN, first, 53.61) in the closing stages of the men’s T34 wheelchair 400m for athletes with cerebral palsy.
His performance ensures the 16-year-old will deliver three silver and one bronze medal to the Australian medal tally, a formidable performance for someone on only his second Australian team after winning a silver and bronze medal on debut at the London 2012 Paralympic Games last year.
“Absolutely stoked with how I have gone here. Four medals, three silver and a bronze, I couldn’t be happier,” McCracken said.
“I thought the race was mine coming around the bend there but the weather was just insane, the wind was something that got me in the closing stage. That’s racing though, that’s how it goes. So close to gold but it doesn’t matter, I have closed my campaign with a silver medal.”
Ballard’s time of 57.00 in the women’s T53 wheelchair 400m ensured a fourth medal from as many starts at these IPC Athletics World Championships after enjoying silver medal success in the 100m, 200m and 800m earlier in the program.
Edged out for the top spot today by Hongzhuan Zhou (CHN, first, 56.76, CR) and Shirley Reilly (USA, second, 56.98, SB), the four-time Paralympian is thrilled by her results in Lyon and feels as though she is rolling as well as she ever has.
“To be on the podium for every event here has been awesome. I was really worried coming out to compete today, the wind is so strong and it is a little bit scary to know that your chair can go a lot faster than you can manage to take it yourself. You have to negotiate a bend with that in mind so I am happy that I got around safely and won bronze,” Ballard said.
“I am pushing the best I have in years so there is no sign of stopping yet. There’s no need when I am training well and if this week is something to go by performing well.”
The youngest ever member of an Australian team, 14-year-old Salmon won her bronze medal behind Oxana Corso (ITA, first, 33.42) and Virginia McLachlan (CAN, second, 34.03) in the T35 cerebral palsy 200m.
Joined on the start line by Erinn Walters (ACT), who placed 7th in a time of 35.91, Salmon improved on her 5th place in the 100m by clocking an Oceania record and personal best time of 34.92 to win her first ever major championship medal on debut here in Lyon.
“I just tried to stick to my race plan and make it to the end as quick as I could. I am really happy with third. This whole trip has been the most amazing experience, the team is such a super group of people. I think today is one of the best days of my life for sure,” Salmon said.
Salmon will also enjoy the perks of a full-time slave for the remainder of the team’s stay in Lyon, after she made a deal with Team Coach Tim Matthews that he would become her personal employee should she cross line in a time quicker than 35 seconds.
“It’s a big bonus. After crossing and seeing the time, the first thing I thought was that Tim was mine for the rest of the trip and not that I had won bronze. He better be ready to work,” Salmon joked.
In a very disappointing result, the men’s T53-54 wheelchair 4x400m relay team missed a certain medal when on the third leg Matt Cameron (Qld) fell in his racing chair to prevent Australia from finishing. Gutsy to the end, Cameron, who had severe lacerations up his arm, was offered a standing ovation by the full grandstand as he made his way back to the post-event control area.
In the final event of the Championships, South Australian Nathan Arkley finished ninth in the men's T54 marathon, with fellow Australian Richard Colman finishing in 13th place.
Australia finished the championships 15th on the medal tally with four gold, 11 silver and 15 bronze.
Full breakdown of Australian medallists:
Evan O'Hanlon - T38 100m, 200m, 400m
Scott Reardon - T42 100m
Rosemary Little - T34 200m
Brad Scott - T37 800m
Angela Ballard - T53 100m, 200m, 800m
Rheed McCracken - T34 100m, 200m, 400m
Scott Reardon - T42 200m
Carlee Beattie - F46 long jump
Gabriel Cole - T46 100m
Michael Roeger - T46 1500m, 5000m
Richard Colman - T53 400m, 5000m
Guy Henly - F37/38 discus
Kath Proudfoot - F35/36 shot put, discus
Todd Hodgetts - F20 shot put
Rosemary Little - T34 100m
Jayden Sawyer - F37/38 javelin
Madison de Rozario - T54 800m
Deon Kenzie - T38 1500m
Rheed McCracken - T34 800m
Carly Salmon - T35 200m
Angela Ballard - T53 400m
By Athletics Australia