By Nicola Milan from Doha, Qatar, Oct 31, 2015: The Doha 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships have come to a close following an action-packed final evening of action, which saw five further world-records and the last of 212 world champions crowned. Following the end of competition, Mohammed Alhameli, Member of the International Paralympic Committee’s (IPC) Governing Board, formally closed the World Championships before fireworks lit the night sky.
Speaking in his closing speech, Mr Alhameli said:
“The Organising Committee, led by its President His Excellency Dr. Thani Abdulrahman Al-Kuwari, have done a tremendous job. The number of world-records is testament to the world-class facilities and organisation athletes have benefitted from here. Most of all, I would like to thank the 800 volunteers for your outstanding work. Without you, events like this cannot happen, but your efforts, combined with those of the Organising Committee, have made these the best IPC Athletics World Championships to date.”
The Doha 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships were the largest-ever para-sport event to be hosted in the Middle East. The Organising Committee aimed to use the opportunity to showcase the incredible abilities of the world’s best para-athletes to new audiences and a new region.
Speaking in the Closing Ceremony, Mr Ameer Al-Mulla, CEO of the Doha 2015 Local Organising Committee, said:
“It was our ambition to use these World Championships to raise awareness about para-sport and disability in Qatar and across the region. With front
page coverage in the local papers every day, coverage on all major TV channels and our hashtag #BeyondIncredible trending on social media – I can say with pride that we have achieved this.
“We have made more people aware of the incredible stories of the athletes competing. We have shown how these athletes have defied limitations, challenged the impossible, and redefined ability, helping us to break down barriers and change perceptions. This event will leave a lasting legacy in the Middle East for generations to come.”
The World Championships broke a number of records, both on and off the track and field.
More athletes than ever before participated, more countries than ever won a medal showing the growing strength of the Paralympic Movement, and more media and broadcasters than ever before covered the World Championships. A total of 54 world-records were broken throughout the competition, even more than were broken in Lyon 2013. China comfortably topped the medal table in Doha with a huge total of 85 medals – 41 gold, 26 silver and 18 bronze. Russia finished second with a total of 69 medals and the USA finished third with 39.
The final evening of action saw a further 18 world champions crowned, with the relays being the highlight of the night. In the Men’s 4x100m T11-13 final, Russia broke the world-record with a time of 42.11 ahead of Uzbekistan and Spain and in the Women’s 4x100m T11-13 relay, China stormed to victory with a new Championship record, ahead of Russia in second and Spain in third, with Cuiqing Liu getting her fourth gold of these World Championships. Meanwhile in the Women’s 4x100m T35-38 relay Great Britain were victorious with a new world-record of 52.22, ahead of Russia in silver and China in bronze. The next relay saw Doha’s heroes Richard Browne and Markus Rehm in action for the USA and Germany respectively in the Men’s 4x100m T42-47. It was Rehm’s team that had the better change-overs with the relay won by the third leg and Germany crossing the line with a 30m lead and a new Championship record ahead of the USA in second and Russia in third.
Speaking after their victory, Markus Rehm said: “I’m really happy, I knew it was possible but it was very hard, we needed to keep a good distance from the US and we did it.” And Johannes Floors said, “It was amazing, the goal we wanted we achieved it, I just said to myself run, run.”
Russia had a world-record breaking evening with Evgenii Shvetcov breaking the Men’s 200m T36 world-record with a time of 24.29 to take his second gold in Doha, and Andrey Vdovin breaking the Men’s 100m T37 world-record in a time of 11.46.
Speaking after his world-record Shvetcov said:
“I’m lost for words, I was trying to win the gold medal, so it feels amazing to do it and break the world record.”
Walid Ktila of Tunisia won his fourth gold of the World Championships when he won the Men’s 200m T34 to match his four gold medals in Lyon 2013. Meanwhile, Great Britain won their third gold of the evening, to take their total tally to 13 golds, when multiple World and Paralympic Champion, Hannah Cockroft won the Women’s 400m T34 and her third gold of these World Championships.
Speaking afterwards, Cockroft said:
“Finally we are finished! I got to the end with three gold medals, which has been massive. A lot of people had their doubts about me, but I knew I could do it. I have worked so hard. The competition has been fierce and definitely the hardest World Championships so far. I’m excited for what I can do going forward”
Fittingly, the final gold of the World Championships went to China, who have been dominant in Doha, in the Men’s 4x400m T53/54 relay with a new Championship record. The baton now hands to London, who will host the 2017 IPC Athletics World Championships in two years’ time.
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