LONDON – Josie Pearson improved the world record three times on the way to taking Great Britain’s gold medal haul at the Olympic Stadium into double figures by winning the discus title today.
The 26-year-old, who broke her neck in a car accident aged 17, 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 discus 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 1,122 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 lived 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.
“I can’t quite put into words how I’m feeling at the moment. I am absolutely ecstatic,” she said.”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.”
Ireland’s Catherine O’Neill won silver with a throw of 5.66m for 880 points.
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.
Another gold medal winner, Mickey Bushell, made it into the final of his second event, the T53 200m, as a fastest loser.