19 August 2018
Arnold leads GB medal rush at World Para Athletics European Championships
Hollie Arnold paid tribute to those closest to her after completing a Grand Slam of javelin titles in style at the Para Athletics European Championships in Berlin.
The Paralympic, world and Commonwealth champion underlined her dominance in the F46 final as she added the European title to her glittering collection.
Her gold medal was won in style as she set a new championship record with a throw of 40.15m to break the 40m barrier for the first time at European level.
It was one of several medals won by GB athletes on day one of the championships and the 24-year-old said she was delighted to complete the quartet of titles in front of her family.
“I am so happy to have all the titles now,” she said. “It’s incredible to think I am Paralympic champion, world champion, world record holder and now European champion.
“I wasn’t expecting the Europeans to be in because my event is not normally in so this is a bonus. This is just a stepping stone ready for next year and Tokyo. I am so excited to get knuckling down for winter training.
“A massive thanks to my coach Dave Turner; he has been an absolute legend, supporting me through my ups and downs and before this competition we were like, ‘We’re not ready’ but it just proves that it is still there and I am really excited for the next upcoming events.
Hollie Arnold with her gold from Rio 2016
“My Mum, Dad and boyfriend are all here and I think it is really special to be able to celebrate with your family and to give them a big hug because they are a massive part of my life.
“I feel kind of old in the sport now because I have been doing it for like 10 years and I am only 24, but every time you compete you have different experiences from each event.
“I have never had the experience of competing at a Europeans before, it got taken out in Swansea 2014. I was so looking forward to competing.
“I was ready and in shape, so coming out here was an extra bonus and I thought, ‘I’m here, why not enjoy it’ and try and get the crowd going and just go for it.”
The GB medal rush was kicked off by Luke Nuttall, who claimed silver in the T46 1500m, before his achievement was matched by David Devine in the T13 1500m final.
It’s incredible to think I am Paralympic champion, world champion, world record holder and now European champion.
“I think I executed my plan to perfection,” said Nuttall. “I was talking to him [gold medallist Hristiyan Stoyanov, Bulgaria] in the call room and I knew he was going to go off at a ridiculous pace and if I went with that that it could have cost me a medal.
“I thought I might as well go to win a medal, not to win the race, because I thought if I go and try and win the race it could end up costing me getting a medal, so I am really happy.”
Ali Smith added a third silver to GB’s collection in the T38 400m final on her debut, while Laura Sugar burst out of the blocks in the T64 100m final on her way to a bronze medal.
In a straight shootout for gold, Harri Jenkins claimed the first GB gold medal in the T33 100m before Arnold produced her record-breaking performance to finish on top of the podium.
Zak Skinner then made it four silver medals for the GB team in a dramatic T13 long jump final as he also set a new personal best, yet it was not to be for Amir Sarvestani in the T11 final as he was forced to pull out with injury.
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