News & Updates

12 July 2023 • Para Athletics

Robinson suffers sixth round body blow but banks Paris Paralympics slot

Holly Robinson suffers a bittersweet day in Paris but secures New Zealand a slot spot for a return to the French capital at the Paralympics next year. Credit (Peter Milsom)

Paralympic champion Holly Robinson was heartbreakingly dislodged from the podium by Venezuelan Naibys Daniela Morillo Gil in the final round of the women’s javelin F46 and had to settle for fourth on day four of the Paris 2023 Para Athletics World Championships.

The 28-year-old, who was making a record-breaking sixth Para Athletics World Championship appearance for a Kiwi, produced a best of the day of 38.97m but a dramatic 39.40m effort by Gill with her final throw denied Robinson a fifth world championship javelin medal.

Still, Robinson, who underwent elbow surgery in January, can be immensely proud of her efforts to not only make it to the start line in Paris but mix it with the best in the world. She also earned the not insignificant consolation of a top four position, which ensures a slot for New Zealand in this event at the Paris Paralympics next year.

Great Britain’s Hollie Arnold secured her fifth successive world title with a best of 41.06m with Saska Sokolov of Serbia, who the previous day finished fourth in the women’s 100m T47 0.03 behind Kiwi bronze medallist Anna Grimaldi, setting two PB’s en route to silver with a best of 39.97m.

Competing in blustery conditions and drawn the 16th and last of the competitors, Robinson sat second after round one with a handy opener of 36.36m – precisely one metre down on Arnold – before advancing into provisional gold with a season’s best of 38.97m in round two.

Registering a foul in round three Robinson slipped to third as Arnold regained her first round advantage with a best of 39.49m only to be nudged off top spot courtesy of a massive new PB of 39.64m by Sokolov.

Robinson endured more frustration in round four with another foul while Arnold unleashed the pivotal throw of the competition with her 41.06m hurl.

The New Zealander powered the javelin out to her second best throw of the day with a 36.77m effort in round five but Robinson was pushed out of the medal picture in round six thanks to a massive effort from Gil as the Kiwi committed a third foul of the final.

Robinson said: “It was a pretty frustrating last round, but we had a plan to get that Paris slot next year (the top four finishers earn a slot for their country at the Paris Paralympics) with the aim of defending my title. I’m disappointed not to make the podium but I have to be realistic, at the moment this is where I’m at. Coming back from injury over the past few months to gain my slot (for the Paris 2024 Paralympics), I’m pretty happy with that.”

Robinson now moves on to the women’s shot F46 final on Saturday at 5.25am and adds: “I would hope for a medal in the shot. I’m feeling pretty good and excited to go out, have some fun and see where that lies. I am competing in a massive field of 17 with some quality throwers. I’m just pumped to get out there and see what happens.”

Two Kiwis feature in the day four evening session tomorrow (Thursday) morning. Will Stedman will try to follow up his 400m T36 silver medal with more precious metal in the men’s long jump T36 starting at 5.25am. Meanwhile, Danielle Aitchison will hope to fire in the women’s 100m T36 final at 6.16am after equalling the championship record and smashing her Oceania record in the heats.

***Follow all the action on TVNZ+. Note, the coverage will be taken from the world feed so we cannot guarantee that all events featuring Kiwi athletes will be shown.

***For results go here