Michael McKillop doubles up again with gold in Doha
Six-times World IPC athletics champion Michael McKillop added to his medal haul yesterday with yet another gold in the T37 1,500 metres final in the World Championships in Doha.
The 25-year-old North Belfast man, who has mild cerebral palsy, showed the opposition the way home for a comfortable victory in a time of 4 minutes 16.19 seconds.
He had a commanding five seconds victory margin over Australian silver medallist Brad Scott who was timed at 4.21.12.
Bronze went to Madjid Djemai of Algeria (4.29.94).
Michael’s time is almost identical to his victory in last year’s Europeans in Swansea.
McKillop adopted a cautious approach in yesterday’s race for the first 800 metres behind Scott who ran even laps of 71 secs.
This was mainly because the St Malachy’s man was far from 100% fit following a series of injuries this year which resulted in only nine weeks’ proper training prior to Doha.
However he upped the tempo significantly in the third lap which he completed in 65 secs. After that the only issue was the size of his winning margin.
Afterwards a relieved McKillop — who had earlier this week taken gold in the 800 metres — said: “It is brilliant to win gold again. I had a plan and went with 500 metres to go.
“Brad did brilliantly but I got away from him. I kicked with 400 metres to go. I knew I wasn’t fit enough to go from the gun or even go with two laps left.
“However in this race I had beaten everyone in the field and I knew I could do it. These are two finals and two perfect results.”
McKillop — who is coached by his father Paddy — will be hugely relieved that he has repeated his double World gold medal feat in Doha which he previously achieved in Lyon and New Zealand.
He was particularly pleased to have won a titanic struggle in the 800 metres last week when he took gold with a mere one second victory margin.
This has again been a hugely successful World Championship for NI athletes with Jason Smyth taking victory in the T13 100 metres for visually impaired athletes.
Both McKillop and Smyth will now be taking time out before commencing their preparations for next summer’s Paralympic Games in Rio.
Irish team manager James Nolan added: “I had full confidence in Michael over 1500m.
“Although he has had a year plagued with injury and hasn’t been able to do as much training as he would have liked, he is a thoroughbred and the perfect build for the 1500m upwards. There was no way anyone in that field was going to trouble Michael.”
Wheelchair racer John McCarthy was on the track shortly after team mate McKillop in the semi-finals of the T51 400m.
The Cork native finished second in a time of 1:36.03 to advance to the final seventh fastest, on the concluding day of competition tomorrow.
Speaking about John’s race Nolan said; “He had the stagger eaten up on the Japanese athlete after just 100m. He also held his form when others faltered in the final 100m and passed the athlete from Portugal to secure automatic qualification. The final will be very tough but if John gets out hard over the first 200m he has the endurance work done to close well, like he did today.”