Thomas Young and Sophie Hahn scorched to Paralympic sprint titles in the space of just 26 minutes on the track inside the National Stadium in Tokyo on Saturday.
Young went under 11 seconds for the first time in his career as he claimed the men’s 100m T38 title in a European record 10.94 seconds.
Then defending champion Hahn, who hasn’t lost in seven years, was pushed harder than ever to retain her women’s 100m T38 title. Hahn finished just six hundredths ahead of Colombia’s Darian Jiminez Sanchez.
“The build-up was quite tough with all the expectation but I tried to stay calm and focussed. I turned off my social media a week ago to keep my head clear and relaxed,” Hahn said, after her run of 12.43 seconds.
“That was more pressure than I’ve ever felt before, I feel the pressure with each race.
“It was pretty close, that’s definitely the hardest I’ve ever been pushed. She was hot on my heels and I really thought it would be a photo finish but to see my name was absolutely incredible.
“I saw Thomas [claim gold] and that really spurred me on. That’s an incredible time to go sub-11 and I’m so pleased for him.”
Young lost the world title to Zhu Dening on a photo finish in Dubai two years ago but is now dreaming big after his brilliant European record time was enough to push the Chinese star into silver by 0.06s.
The 21-year-old is not even thinking about Paris 2024 but Brisbane eight years later – four 100m titles being not even something his hero Usain Bolt achieved.
“It’s so special after the heartbreak of what happened at the Worlds, I just can’t explain what I’m feeling right now,” beamed Young.
“I had some time off after those championships but I knew there was work to do. We worked so hard, throughout the pandemic, to get it right on this day and it’s the best feeling in the world.
“The time is a bonus but I just wanted to win, having that personal best just makes it even better though.
“I want to be a dominant force in this sport, I know Paris is next but I’m already thinking about Brisbane , that’s the long-term aim.
“Any kid growing up in this sport was inspired by Usain Bolt and he’s got three golds and I’d like that too.
“Next year I want the European title and I’ve got a home Commonwealth Games, then it’ll be about getting the world title, so I hold all four.
“It’s unbelievable to be the first person to get an athletics gold for the team.”
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