IPC Athletics: British team ensure record European medal tally of 56

David Weir

David Weir has six Paralympics and five European Championships gold medals

Great Britain gained a record 56 medals as Paralympic champion David Weir won his fourth gold at the IPC Athletics European Championships.

The team won five medals in the final session in Italy to surpass their total of 52, achieved two years ago.

Weir held off a late fightback from Russia’s Aleksei Bychenok to win the T54 1500m in three minutes 18.50 seconds, 0.03secs ahead of his rival.

“The time was quite slow for me but I was all right,” Weir said afterwards.

“I knew I had it covered. Heinz Frei broke early and I wasn’t expecting that. With 500m to go, I didn’t know whether to go behind Aleksei Bychenok or go round.

“I made the decision to go around him in case he had nothing else in the tank. I had to go the long way round but it was a good race.”

On the final day’s action, the British women’s T35-38 4x100m relay team produced one of the finest performances of the championships on their way to gold, setting a world record of 51.63 seconds.

The quartet of Olivia Breen, Maria Lyle, Georgie Hermitage and Sophie Hahn made a series of confident handovers to regain the relay title from Russia, who won two years ago.

Four-time European gold medallist Hermitage, who set her third world record of the week, said: “I enjoyed the bend. It may not have been the smoothest of changeovers by me and Maria but we have a great relationship and it is something we can work on.

“We still broke a world record and you could see that there is so much to come. Whatever happens, we are going to be formidable.”

Isaac Towers completed the full set of medals with gold in the T34 800m final. Towers held off the experienced Henry Manni of Finland in the final 400m to secure a championship record time of 1:44.67.

“It is good to know I can mix it with the best and is a very good marker as we go into the last few weeks before Rio,” said Towers.

In the same race, Ben Rowlings earned his second bronze medal of the week by finishing with a time of 1:49.14.

It was agony for Laura Sugar in the T44 100m final, as she had to settle for a silver medal after being edged out in the last 80m by T44 world number one Irmgard Bensusan.

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