Above: Jess Hamill (left) on the dais after receiving her silver medal at the IPC Athletics World Championships in Doha. (Photo by Francois Nel Getty Images Sport)
Jess Hamill got the New Zealand team off to a great start at the IPC Athletics World Championships in Doha in the first session, winning the silver medal in the Women’s F34 shot put.
The Invercargill 25 year old, throwing second in the order, had a great series of throws, opening with a New Zealand record of 7.45m, then improving to 7.68 with her second attempt before closing with 7.83m on her sixth and final throw of the competition. She added 0.69 to her previous New Zealand record of 7.14.
Hamill then had to wait until all the other throwers had their six attempts to see if she retained her lead. It was the Chinese athlete Lijuan Zou who threw 8.37 on her first attempt who relegated Hamill to the silver medal position. Lucyana Kornobys from Poland finished third with a best of 7.38m.
Hamill’s most recent international event was the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi where she also medalled. After taking a break from the sport to concentrate on her studies, Hamill was very pleased with her return and has scored one of the automatic qualification spots for the Rio 2016 Paralympics.
Hamill has Cerebral Palsy with impaired strength and motion. Her classification of F34 means she competes as a seated thrower, using a special frame to throw from.
On the track, 15 year old William Stedman, qualified comfortably for the final of the Men’s T36 400m, finishing second in heat two in 57.32, just outside his personal best and NZ record of 57.30 set in Darwin last week.
The Canterbury athlete, also in a Cerebral Palsy class, in his first major international championship, heads into the final as the second fastest qualifier behind British athlete Paul Blake who won Stedman’s heat in 56.62.
Stedman’s final will be early Saturday morning (NZ time), while Anna Grimaldi and Holly Robinson start in the Women’s T45/46/47 combined long jump final, also on Saturday morning.
NZL IPC Athletics World Championships page