Wednesday’s Star Performers
* Sophie Christiansen – grabbed all three golds in the dressage competition despite her massive handicap
* David Weir – continued his march toward wheelchair dominance by winning the 1500 metres
* Danielle Brown – showed the Olympic archers up in the all-British final
* Lawrence Okoye – won the World Challenge meeting discus event well, continuing his end-season form
* Anya Shrubsole – grabbed four wickets in four overs for the England Women cricket team
After another amazing day at the Paralympics, no one athlete particularly deserves more praise over another (although David Weir continues to amaze me), so here are the medals ParalympicsGB earned on Wednesday:
Danielle Brown, GOLD, Women’s Individual Compound – Open (Archery)
Mel Clarke, SILVER, Women’s Individual Compound – Open (Archery)
David Devine, BRONZE, Men’s 1500m – T13 (Athletics)
Paul Blake, SILVER, Men’s 400m – T36 (Athletics)
David Weir, GOLD, Men’s 1500 – T54 (Athletics)
GB Women, BRONZE, Women’s 4x100m – T35/38 (Athletics)
GB, BRONZE, Mixed Team – BC1-2 (Boccia)
Sophie Wells, SILVER, Individual Freestyle Test Grade IV (Dressage)
Deborah Criddle, SILVER, Individual Freestyle Test Grade III (Dressage)
Sophie Christiansen, GOLD, Individual Freestyle Test Grade Ia (Dressage)
Matthew Skelhon, BRONZE, Mixed R6-50m Rifle Prone-SH1 (Shooting)
Oliver Hynd, BRONZE, Men’s 100m Backstroke S8 (Swimming)
Heather Frederiksen, GOLD, Women’s 100m Backstroke – S8 (Swimming)
Eleanor Simmonds, BRONZE, Women’s 50m Freestyle – S6 (Swimming)
Stephanie Millward, BRONZE, Women’s 400m Freestyle – S9 (Swimming)
Matthew Walker, BRONZE, Men’s 50m Freestyle – S7 (Swimming)
But well done to all the Paralympians. On the ridiculous off-chance on of you are reading this, apologies for the lack of coverage, but there are a shedload of names to get through and I’d really love to get into detail. Alas, I’m not paid for this and Channel 4 is rubbish. Next!
The Johnstone’s Paint Trophy isn’t exactly the highlight of mine, or many people’s footballing calendar but when its closest British rival on a quiet Wednesday evening is the Welsh Premier League, it’ll do. At times like this, when no good teams are in action, I tend towards the northern activity and completely ignore the southern half of the draw.
One team I’m particularly interested in this year is York City. After an eight year absence, the Minstermen are nestled nicely in the top half of League Two with two wins and a draw from four games and have notably gotten the JPT off to a flyer. My fickle heart was torn in two with their first round result, as local Rotherham is the poor man’s Sheffield but it’s a side I wanted to do well in the poor man’s League Cup. As it was, if anyone was going to knock them out 1-0, I’m glad it was York.
Elsewhere, fellow down-the-roaders Chesterfield beat Oldham Athletic 2-1 but Scunthorpe United crashed out to Nottingham Forest B – I mean, Notts County – on the same score.
I was as surprised as any to know that there’s a step below the Diamond League in athletics that still contains top athletes. Actually, most people don’t know that athletics goes on outside of the Olympics, never mind the World Championships. Still, the World Challenge meetings are the second tier and many of Team GB’s unsuccessful Olympians continued their stellar season outside of “the only event that matters”
Out of the six events our five Brits participated in (that greedy Anyika Onoura did two, she didn’t even get a podium finish!), three of them were won by us, so that’s something. My new favourite athlete, Diamond League winner Robbie Grabarz, wasn’t in Zagreb for the penultimate meet but close second Lawrence Okoye was. The former rugby player’s enthusiasm still gets me every time and he soared over his discus rivals to win with a mark of 67.25m. This isn’t the Paralympics, remember – that distance really is his distance. Further success came from Shara Proctor, ninth in the Olympic long jump, who’s leap of 6.79m edged her in front of her Belarusian rival. Martyn Rooney was our other champion in a depleted field of five, finishing the 400m less than a second ahead of Poland’s Marciniszyn.
It was less of a party for the likes of Onoura, who entered both the 100m and 200m sprints. To be fair to her, she finished fourth in the latter by just 0.21 seconds from “bronze”. Then again, she missed out in last place for the 100m by 0.01 seconds, so not the best Wednesday night.
Marilyn Okoro rounded off a largely fruitful British evening by finishing fourth in her 400m.
I’ve never confessed to being a winter sports expert, so I have no idea what events go on throughout the season. What I do know is that Chile’s La Parva has been hosting several downhill races that British skiiers have entered. Hurrah!
Euan MacFie, Paul Henderson, Max Baggio and Kieran Norris all took part in both runs. To cut a short story shorter, GBR never troubled the top half of the table, with Norris finishing fifth from bottom on both runs. MacFie had the fastest time of the day with 1:23:55, although Baggio placed higher (35th of 55) on another run. Darcie Mead was the sole female representative and came in five seconds behind the Russian leader in 10th. In the next race, Mead failed to finish her run.
The 18th European Aerobatic Championships kicked off over a week ago in Slovakia but, because I haven’t been keeping up and the sketchy results page, I’m not sure when events happened. What I do know is that GB is represented by five flyers, but it’s a real tussle between Tom Cassells and Gerald Cooper. In the four events the pair have competed in, the scores are tied at 2-2, although Cassells, flying in his CAP 232 plane, got their highest finish in the overall ranking with 6th place. He also contested the “Free Unknown 2” category, coming in 6th of 7 with just 52.863%.
Anything you can do etc. as England’s female cricket team thrashed Pakistan in a Twenty20 international by seven wickets. Seamer Anya Shrubsole managed to take four wickets from just 12 runs, whilst the stingy Holly Colvin saw just seven runs taken from four overs. Great preparation for the Women’s World Twenty20, that.