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Page last updated at 11:52 GMT, Saturday, 22 January 2011

GB athletes make winning start at World Championships


Opening-day medals for GB para-athletes

Great Britain's athletes enjoyed a good start to the International Paralympic Committee Athletics World Championships with four medals on the opening day.

Teenage wheelchair racer Hannah Cockcroft won her 200m in a new championship record in her first major senior international competition.

Dan West set a new personal best to win silver in his shot put event.

There were bronzes for wheelchair racer Shelly Woods in her 5000m event and for Gemma Prescott in the club throw.

West, who won silver in the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in October, set a new championship record of 11.37 in the third round but was overhauled by Frenchman Thierry Cibone who threw 11.53 for a new world record.

But the Briton was still delighted to have come away with a medal.

"My target for the year was to throw 11.20m so to do that in a major championships, I can't ask for more," said West, who has cerebral palsy.

"I've only ever been over 11m once before and that consistency is something I've been working on with the boss [his coach, Jim Edwards] back home.

"I've been really relaxed out here," he continued. "It's the best preparation camp I've ever been part of and that helped me massively coming into today."

Woods was edged out by Paralympic champion Amanda McGrory of the Unites States and Switzerland's Sandra Graf but was pleased to open her account with a podium finish in wet conditions.

"I'm happy with a bronze," she said. "It's a good start and hopefully I can build on that for the rest of the championships. I felt really strong and in drier conditions I can use my speed a bit more. I had to adjust my technique a bit because of the rain and I had to push the best I could to get the best grip."

Prescott, whose stronger shot putt event is on Sunday, managed a new personal best of 16.40m in the club.

"I really tried to shut off from tomorrow and stay focused on today," she said. "Nobody really knew what to expect so I was really just targeting a good distance. That was a big PB for me and it's definitely given me confidence going into the shot. It's good to get one under my belt - now I need to go back and re-focus."

Elsewhere, wheelchair racers Dave Weir (T54 800m) and Mickey Bushell (T53 100m) and sprinters Hazel Robson, Katrina Hart, Libby Clegg and Jenny McLoughlin were among those to progress to the next round of their respective events.

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see also
Earthquake fears do not shake GB Paralympians
21 Jan 11 |  Disability Sport
A-Z of Paralympic classification
28 Aug 08 |  Disability Sport
Disability Sport on the BBC
02 Nov 09 |  Disability Sport

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