Sophie Hahn lays down marker for IPC World Championships with world record

Sophie Hahn is gearing up to retain her world title this autumn EMN-150723-094611002
Sophie Hahn is gearing up to retain her world title this autumn EMN-150723-094611002
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Sophie Hahn rose to the occasion as she produced a scintillating performance at National Paralympic Day on Sunday.

The 18-year-old para-athlete was making her debut at the Olympic Stadium, a venue which helped inspire her to take up running after the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.

Roared on by 30,000 supporters, Hahn clocked 13.00 seconds dead to lower her own world record and win the T38 100m at the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games.

She ranked the experience among the best in her short career, above even her gold-medal winning exploits in 2013 when she exploded on to the scene at the IPC World Championships in France.

“It was absolutely amazing, one of the best competitions I have ever done, probably even better than Lyon,” she told the Melton Times.

“It’s not just the crowd, it’s the floodlights, the stadium – you are like an ant when you stand on the track.

“I got nervous when we got on the blocks and the crowd stopped, but after the gun went it was amazing. I had never competed in front of such a big crowd.”

The time beat her previous mark by four-hundredths of a second, and without the 1.3 headwind, Hahn would have become the first T38 female runner in history to officially break the 13-second barrier.

The Melton Brooksby College student, who has cerebral palsy, has twice dipped under the magic mark in competition this season, but both times were wind-assisted and could not be officially ratified.

She added: “It’s a quick track and I’d been working really hard on the block starts and it was one of the best starts I’ve ever had.

“I was sure it was going to be a good race, but didn’t know how fast it would be because of the wind and the rain.

“Without the wind I think we would have had a faster race.

“I was just concentrating on winning and didn’t look at the clock when I crossed the line, but then I looked up and saw the world record and thought ‘how did I just do that?’

“I didn’t have much time to celebrate or interact with the crowd because I had to do interviews and photos.

“You think it’s all finished, but as soon as you go around the corner there are more microphones and cameras. I don’t mind it, but sometimes it’s hard.”

The performance also laid down an important marker for the upcoming IPC World Championships in Doha as she beat one of her chief rivals Margarita Goncharova.

The Russian beat Hahn at last year’s European Championships over 100m and 400m, forcing her to settle for silver in both.

But last weekend’s performance could give her a valuable psychological edge as she seeks to defend her world 100m title in October.

“I didn’t really know what to expect. It was at the back of my mind before the race wondering how much she (Goncharova) had changed,” she said.

“It will be my second time at the Worlds, so I want to keep getting my times better, but there are some fantastic athletes there so it will be a hard race.”