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Paralympic sports - 24. January 2011.

Hart races to World Championships crown in New Zealand



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 4x100m 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 clocked a lifetime best and European record of 30.11 to win the T37
200m gold. She said:  ³That was even better than Delhi. I¹m really happy,
it¹s amazing. It was tough though and I¹m knackered. I had to work really
hard down the home straight.²

³I knew I was in great shape and this is what I¹ve always wanted,² 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 Kong¹s World Record holder and defending champion So
Wa Wai in 12.17.

³I love this whole experience,² said Rushgrove, a Sports Performance
graduate and the University of Bath¹s Sports Personality of the Year in
2009.

³I 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.²

He added: ³Maybe the pressure got to me a bit, but that¹s what major
Championships are all about; there¹s no greater occasion.²

And yesterday evening Paul Blake followed up Hart¹s 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, Russia¹s 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).

³I thought I had him but my legs just gave up,² said Blake. ³I¹d obviously
have loved to win it and maybe I broke too soon, but silver is amazing and
I¹m really happy. I know I¹ve got a lot more to give.²

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

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