Hart races to World Championships crown in New Zealand

24 January 2011

University of Bath student Katrina Hart is celebrating after adding a world championship crown to the Commonwealth Games title she won last year.

The 20-year-old Sports Performance student struck gold in the T37 200m at the International Paralympic Committee World Championships in Christchurch yesterday (Sunday).

Today she added a bronze in the T35-38 4×100m relay. And there have also been a brace of silvers medals for University of Bath-based athletes too, with Ben Rushgrove collecting silver in the T36 100m and Paul Blake taking silver in the T36 1500m.

The trio are all coached at the University of Bath by Rob Ellchuk, who is a member of the coaching team for the Aviva Great Britain and Northern Ireland squad in Christchurch.

Hart (pictured right) clocked a lifetime best and European record of 30.11 to win the T37 200m gold. She said:  “That was even better than Delhi. I’m really happy, it’s amazing. It was tough though and I’m knackered. I had to work really hard down the home straight.”

“I knew I was in great shape and this is what I’ve always wanted,” she added.

Earlier today (Monday) Ben Rushgrove was also in the medals, taking silver in the T36 100m, the event in which he won silver at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games.

Rushgrove ran a personal best and European record of 12.25, a time that was only bettered by Hong Kong’s World Record holder and defending champion So Wa Wai in 12.17.

“I love this whole experience,” said Rushgrove, a Sports Performance graduate and the University of Bath’s Sports Personality of the Year in 2009.

“I woke up at 6am and I knew I really wanted it today; I came out and gave it my best shot and to get a PB was brilliant. It went right down to the line because the guys got such a great start.”

He added: “Maybe the pressure got to me a bit, but that’s what major Championships are all about; there’s no greater occasion.”

And yesterday evening Paul Blake followed up Hart’s success with a hard-fought silver medal in the T36 1500m on his international debut in 4:41.66.

Having sat comfortably with the leaders through the early stages, he broke clear with just under two laps to go and soon had a clear gap on the chasing pair, but with 200m to go, Russia’s Artem Arefyev, the experienced World Record holder and multiple Paralympic Games gold medallist, raced back into contention and as the pair entered the home straight the Russian pushed on to take the victory (4:40.17).

“I thought I had him but my legs just gave up,” said Blake. “I’d obviously have loved to win it and maybe I broke too soon, but silver is amazing and I’m really happy. I know I’ve got a lot more to give.”

The IPC World Championships conclude on Sunday (30 January).

For further information please contact the TeamBath press office at Matchtight Ltd on 01225 383518.

Photo: Katrina Hart – by Getty Images for Aviva

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