Para-sprinter Sophie Hahn bids for second world gold medal

Hahn set her third 100m world record in London in June
Hahn set her third 100m world record in London in June
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Para-athlete Sophie Hahn annihilated her own world record as she made a sensational start to the IPC Athletics World Championships in Qatar.

The 18-year-old lowered the mark by four-tenths of a second as she retained her T38 100m world title on the opening day of the championships in Doha last Thursday.

Hahn dominated the final and left her chief rival Margarita Goncharova trailing in her wake as she led from gun to tape.

She crossed the line in an unbelievable 12.60 seconds to become the first T38 woman to officially break the 13-second barrier.

Russian sprinter Goncharova had beaten Hahn three times at last year’s IPC Athletics European Championships and lowered her own personal best to 13.01secs in the final.

But the time was only good enough for the bronze medal behind Chinese para-athlete Junfei Chen who clocked a huge personal best of 12.98secs to take silver.

“I can’t believe what I’ve just done,” Hahn said.

“The Anniversary Games gave me confidence going into the worlds. I’m very happy.

“I’m going to have a rest and then I’ll be good to go for the 200m.”

The former Brooksby Melton College student is gunning for three gold medals at the championships.

The next leg of her golden treble bid takes place today at 5.25pm GMT as she lines up in the 200m final.

Hahn took silver over the distance at the previous world championships in France two years ago and will again face Goncharova.

The sprint relay offers her a third chance of a medal on Saturday at 3.25pm GMT.

This season Hahn has used the disappointment of her three European silver medals to spur her on to greater things.

She added: “I’ve been working really hard on my starts and it paid off today.

“I’ve watched the Diamond League on this track so I knew it was quick.”

Hahn, who is coached at Loughborough by Joe McDonnell and Sam Heathcote, was hot favourite to retain her 100m title, having twice beaten the 13-second mark this season with unclassified times.

She lowered her world record to 13 seconds flat at the IPC Grand Prix at the Anniversary Games in London this summer.

If fitness allows, Hahn will be a major prospect of success for Britain at next summer’s Paralympics in Rio.

And she believes she can go even faster.

“I was feeling fast, but I’m over the moon to actually do it in the race. It’s amazing,” she said.

“I think I can maybe take that world record down to 12.30-12.40 but I’ll have to see.”

n Follow Sophie’s progress live on TV channel More 4.