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World Paralympic javelin gold for Nathan Stephens


Welsh javelin throwers star at World Champs

Javelin thrower Nathan Stephens added to Britain's gold medal haul at the Paralympic Athletics World Championships in New Zealand.

The 22-year-old Welshman lost both legs after he was run over by a train when he was nine years old.

But he made up for the disappointment of missing a medal in Beijing with a a lifetime best of 39.11m for victory.

There was also gold and a new world record for Northern Ireland's middle-distance runner Michael McKillop.

The Belfast man, who has a mild form of cerebral palsy, celebrated his 21st birthday on Thursday and marked the occasion with his second world record of the event having set a new mark in Wednesday's 1500m.

In the 800m he kicked at the 400m mark and went on to win in a time of one minute 58.90 seconds, breaking his own T37 world record of 1:59.39.

"In Beijing I waited to the 250m, but today I decided to go early and catch them out. It worked perfectly," he said.

There was joy, too, for Stephens whose gold in the F57/58 category completed an outstanding week for his coach Anthony Hughes and his Cardiff-based training group.

Stephens, who is from Bridgend, had watched his training partners Aled Davies, Hollie Arnold and Kyron Duke all win bronze in the past 24 hours and was determined to play his own part in the success story, doing so in style with his fourth round throw.

"I knew I had it in me," said the world junior champion. "I was popping out some big ones in our preparation camp in Auckland and after coming out of the first round in second place, I knew I could only do one thing and that was to throw further.

"The way I hit it, it was lovely, and to wipe the floor with Pohlmann [Czech athlete Rostislav Pohlmann who had pushed him down into fourth position in the Beijing Paralympic Games], I just loved it."

"I couldn't let the Welsh boys down," he added; "that's the one main thing we changed from Beijing. We don't compete as individuals anymore, we compete as a team."

There were also silver medals for Paul Blake and Sophia Warner in the T36 800m and T35 200m respectively for their second medals of the week.

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see also
Weir adds to GB gold medal haul
27 Jan 11 |  Disability Sport
Pistorius suffers surprise defeat
26 Jan 11 |  Disability Sport
Clegg earns Britain's sixth gold
25 Jan 11 |  Disability Sport
GB duo win gold medals at Worlds
24 Jan 11 |  Disability Sport
Weir stars as GB win eight medals
23 Jan 11 |  Disability Sport
Brown wins bronze in Christchurch
23 Jan 11 |  Disability Sport
World golds for GB's Paralympic athletes
23 Jan 11 |  Disability Sport
GB athletes off to winning start
22 Jan 11 |  Disability Sport
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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