LONDON - On the third day of the World Para Athletics Championships, U.S. athletes won eight medals, including golds from Lex Gillette (Raleigh, North Carolina), Jeremy Campbell (Perryton, Texas) and Roderick Townsend-Roberts (Stockton, California), at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Team USA leads the medal leaderboard with 19 total, followed by Great Britain with 15.
In the F44 men’s discus throw, Team USA delivered an impressive 1-2 finish. Two-time world champion Campbell won gold with a throw of 63.66 meters, while David Blair (Eagle Mountain, Utah) threw 62.47 to secure silver. Campbell’s winning throw improved his own championship record from 2015 by nearly two and a half meters.
Gillette, the 2013 and 2015 world champion in the T11 men’s long jump, jumped into the lead on his first attempt and never relinquished the top spot. With his best mark coming on his fifth attempt, Gillette and guide Wesley Williams (Visalia, California) secured the title with a mark of 6.27 meters.
2016 Paralympic gold medalist Roderick Townsend set a championship record in the T47 high jump, improving on his own previous record set in Doha in 2015. Townsend didn't enter the competition until his next closest competitor had gone out, and he won with a clearance of 2.10 before three missed attempts at a world record of 2.15.
Other medalists for Team USA included Raymond Martin (Jersey City, New Jersey), who captured silver in the T52 1,500 in a time of 3:47.04, while Kym Crosby (Yuba City, California) ran the T13 200 in a personal-best 25.21 to claim bronze. Team USA capped off the evening a bronze medal for Scout Bassett (Harbor Springs, Michigan) - the first world medal of her career - in the T42 100 (16.68), and a bronze by Jarryd Wallace (Athens, Georgia) in the T44 100 (10.95).
Other top-10 finishes:
Jerome Singleton (Irmo, South Carolina): T44 100, 4th place
Brian Siemann (Millstone, New Jersey): T53 200, 6th place
“It means a lot. It’s a great start to the quad. I’m really excited about that. My grandmother passed away 10 days ago, right before we left for London. It meant a lot to be able to come out. I know she’s very happy up in heaven watching down.”
“I’m pretty excited. Coming into here, I’ve had a consistent season but nothing big. After Rio went so poorly for me last year, it’s really nice to leave this place feeling a little bit of redemption and throwing up to what I can throw. I think we (David Blair) both have a lot more in there so it’s going to be exciting getting ready for Tokyo.”
“This is what I come to do it for. I can’t take any of my competitions lightly. Whether it’s jumping with able-bodied athletes like I do most of the season or jumping here at the Paralympics, this is what I live for. I told myself that so many times during the competition, to make the most of this moment because this is what you live for. This is what I’ve been training for my entire adult life.”
“I know I could have gone faster, I know I can do better but I’m just really happy right now. It’s been a hard year coming back after Rio. That was a really grinding year for me, but I’m really happy with what I’ve been able to do this year.”
“I’ve been doing this sport for seven years, and to win my first medal is so special. It’s emotional for me. It's been such a hard journey for me and I have such an unusual story, and to be a medalist at the world championships is a dream come true. It’s been a tough season and to finish this way is a huge thrill.”
“The atmosphere, getting to be in a race with hometown legend Jonnie Peacock, doesn't get much better than that. Competition was fierce today. Unfortunately I didn’t execute as well as I did in the prelims, but I’m having fun out here and it’s always a blast getting to race at this stage.”