4 November 2019
Arnold using the fourth at World Para Athletics Championships
Hollie Arnold was 11 when she competed at her first disability sport event in Blackpool. She won seven gold medals that day, and hasn’t stopped since.
The all-conquering F46 javelin star goes for a fourth successive gold at this week’s World Para Athletics Championships in Dubai.
The 25-year-old set a world record at the Rio Paralympics in 2016, to then extend it at the 2017 World Championships and the 2018 Commonwealth Games. What can we expect this time?
“If you’re a defending champion, there’s a hunger to keep hold of it,” said Arnold, attached to Blackheath & Bromley, the club that reared Dina Asher-Smith.
“Defending any title is unreal, it’s so hard to do. I know I’ve got to protect the status of Paralympic champion and Dubai is a stepping stone to the main project, which is Tokyo.”
I’ve only competed a couple of times and it does worry me a tiny bit
“Gold medals are there for life. When you mature as an athlete you learn that while the achievements don’t define you, it’s really important.
“I just love competing, I love going out there and performing. That’s helped me win gold medals when I’m under ridiculous pressure.
“Somehow, I just do it.”
For an athlete who loves to compete, it’s been a quiet season for Arnold. She has only competed three times this year, including in a non-disabled field at the British Championships.
Arnold became a world champion for the third time in London two years ago
But she has gone out to 41.99m and 41.94m, the longest hurls of her career outside of a major Championships, auguring well for a challenge of the 44.43m world mark set on the Gold Coast.
Arnold admits there is some anxiety over a lack of competitive action but given the incredible length of this season, it could turn out to be a blessing.
“I’ve only competed a couple of times and it does worry me a tiny bit,” she said.
“I’m not a person who needs to throw so many times a year. I throw and we replicate competitions in training, so I think you can get the same sort of feeling from your training partners.
“It’s been such a long season when you compare it to last year when we were peaking for the Commonwealth Games in April.
“I didn’t want to over-compete so I decided to stay fresh and go back to the basics. To get more technical and actually focus on the javelin rather than competitions this year.”
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