Athletics: Team GB's Josie Pearson grabs discus gold - Paralympics - Olympics - The Independent

Athletics: Team GB's Josie Pearson grabs discus gold

 

Josie Pearson, who broke her neck in car accident aged 17, set three new world records to take Great Britain's gold medal haul at the Olympic Stadium into double figures by winning the discus title this morning.

The 26-year-old had to give up wheelchair racing after being told the risk of further injury was too great and only took up throwing 18 months ago.

But the Bristol-born athlete launched the disc out to 6.38, 6.54 and then 6.58 metres with her first three throws of the competition, extending the F51 record on each occasion.

With the competition also including F52 and 53 athletes, the distances were converted into points, with Pearson's 1122 putting her 242 clear of the rest of the field.

Such was her dominance any of her six throws would have been good enough to win the gold.

After Jonnie Peacock, David Weir and Hannah Cockroft ensured last night live up to its billing as 'Thriller Thursday', Pearson's success kept the British gold medal bandwagon moving apace.

Pearson, who became the first woman to represent ParalympicsGB at wheelchair rugby four years ago, has thrown 6.66m this summer, but the distance was not ratified and so ineligible for the record books.

Ireland's Catherine O'Neill won silver with a throw of 5.66m for 880 points.

Pearson, who was told to give up wheelchair racing earlier this year because of a cyst which had developed on her spine, said: "I can't quite put into words how I'm feeling at the moment. I am absolutely ecstatic.

"In training I was consistently throwing over the world record so I knew it was a definite possibility that I could do it. To get that first throw and break the world record was such a relief. I was able to relax and then my next two throws were even better. I think I thrive on pressure."

Pearson was a promising show jumper at the time of the car crash in 2003, in which her boyfriend died as well as leaving her paralysed.

She added: "I have always been very determined and I knew I wanted to be Paralympic champion. When you hear that the Games are going to be in your home country that's such an incentive to be the best at what you do.

"I was inspired by watching Athens a year after my accident. At that point we didn't know London was hosting the Games, but that inspired me to get back into sport and to be the best that I can be.

"I can't wait to see than golden postbox (in her hometown of Hay-on-Wye) and my stamp."

Richard Whitehead produced another late burst to book his place in the final of the T42 100m.

The double above-the-knee amputee, as he did to take the 200m crown, came roaring through from way down the field in the second half of the race to beat American Shaquille Vance to third place.

The Nottingham athlete, who is also incredibly the marathon world record holder, finished in a personal best of 12.97 seconds.

The 100m crown, though, is likely to be beyond him tonight as the distance does not give him enough time to make up for his slow starts.

Another gold medal winner, Mickey Bushell, made it into the final of his second event, the T53 200m, as a fastest loser.

Scott Moorhouse finished seventh in the F42 javelin and Kyron Duke eighth in the F40 javelin.

PA

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