McKillop completes double gold performance with new championship record
Ballymena athlete adds 1,500m title to 800m gold he won on Sunday at World Championships
Michael McKillop celebrates after winning the men’s 1500 metres T38 final at the IPC Athletics World Championships in Lyon, France. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images
Michael McKillop continued his dominance of middle distance running at the IPC World Athletics Championship in Lyon on Wednesday by adding the 1,500 metres to the 800 metres title on Sunday to complete yet another double gold performance.
The 23-year-old from Ballymena was again far too good for the field in the T38 event, making his break with two laps to go to storm home in a time of 4:10.17 to shave over four and a half seconds off his previous championship best in Christchurch in 2011.
McKillop could even afford to ease down on the home straight and still have over two and half seconds to spare over Tunisia’s Abbes Saidi, who took silver 4:12.78. Australia’s Deon Kenzie took bronze in a personal best time of 4:14.21.
“I knew I was in good shape since Sunday and I was quite happy with the way it went,” admitted the double Paralympic gold winner from London 2012. “ I sat until 800 metres to go and kicked on after that. I don’t know how big a gap I had on them, but I just kept pushing and pushing and relaxed the last 50 to 60 metres to the line.”
It was the second championship record from an Irish athlete today after Jason Smyth broke his own championship record in the T13 100 metres semi-finals during the morning session.
The 26-year-old from Derry won the second semi-final in a time of 10.72 to qualify in the fastest time for Thursday evening’s final at the Rhone Stadium, where he will bid to win his second gold after success in the 200 metres last Sunday.
The twice double Paralympic gold medal winner had a third of a second to spare over Namibia’s Nambala Johannes, who ran a personal best of 11.05.
Five athletes from Smyth’s semi-final qualified for the final, where Smyth’s biggest challenge is likely to come from South Africa’s Jonathan Ntutu, who won the first semi-final in a time of 10.99.