27 August 2021
Scorching sprint golds for Young and Hahn
Thomas Young and Sophie Hahn scorched to Paralympic sprint titles in the space of just 26 minutes – the first two athletics golds of Tokyo 2020 for ParalympicsGB.
Young went sub 11 seconds for the first time in his career as he claimed the men’s 100m T38 title in a European record 10.94 seconds.
And defending champion Hahn, who hasn’t lost in seven years, was pushed harder than ever before, crossing the line in the women’s 100m T38 just six hundredths ahead of Colombia’s Darian Jiminez Sanchez.
Sophie Hahn was pushed all the way by Darian Jiminez Sanchez butprevailed to defend her 100m title
“The build-up was quite tough with all the expectation but I tried to stay calm and focussed. I turned off my social media a week ago to keep my head clear and relaxed,” said Hahn.
“That was more pressure than I’ve ever felt before, I feel the pressure with each race.
“It was pretty close, that’s definitely the hardest I’ve ever been pushed. She was hot on my heels and I really thought it would be a photo finish but to see my name was absolutely incredible.
“I saw Thomas [claim gold just before her] and that really spurred me on. That’s an incredible time to go sub-11 and I’m so pleased for him.”
Sophie Hahn reflects on becoming a double Paralympic champion
Hahn’s fellow Brits Olivia Breen (13.13s) and Ali Smith (13.24s) finished sixth and eighth respectively in the race.
Meanwhile, Young lost the world title to Zhu Dening on a photo finish in Dubai two years ago but is now dreaming big after his brilliant European record time was enough to push the Chinese star into Paralympic silver by 0.06s.
The 21-year-old is not even thinking about Paris 2024 but Brisbane eight years later – four 100m titles being not even something his hero Usain Bolt achieved.
“It’s so special after the heartbreak of what happened at the Worlds, I just can’t explain what I’m feeling right now,” beamed Young.
“I had some time off after those championships but I knew there was work to do. We worked so hard, throughout the pandemic, to get it right on this day and it’s the best feeling in the world.
“The time is a bonus but I just wanted to win, having that personal best just makes it even better though.
Thomas Young crossed the line ahead of Zhu Dening and Australia's Evan O'Hanlon
“I want to be a dominant force in this sport, I know Paris is next but I’m already thinking about Brisbane [2032 Paralympics], that’s the long-term aim.
“Any kid growing up in this sport was inspired by Usain Bolt and he’s got three golds and I’d like that too.
“Next year I want the European title and I’ve got a home Commonwealth Games, then it’ll be about getting the world title, so I hold all four.
“It’s unbelievable to be the first person to get an athletics gold for the team.”
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