Sabrina Fortune struck gold as she defended her shot put crown in Paris. Pic; Getty Images.

Fortune Favours The Brave As Sabrina Defends World Crown

By Gareth James

Sabrina Fortune smashed the championship record to defend her World Para Athletics F20 shot put title in Paris.

The Welsh para ace from Deeside broke the 14-metre barrier for the second time in her career, producing a huge effort of 14.01m to add to the gold she won in Dubai four years ago.

“It was an incredible experience. I can’t put into words how hard and how happy I truly am right now,” said the 26-year-old.

“It’s not a personal best but you know what, having that title back is the biggest thing. I’ve had a couple of bad years when I felt my sport wasn’t going well and this just proves that no matter how hard you fall you can still stand back up tall.

Fortune shattered the championship record in Paris.Pic: Getty Images

“I’ve really struggled all week in training where I’ve just been too hot. I struggle in heat with my asthma, so [the competition] was hard but I knew I had to get past it.

“I stayed in the shade, put ice towels around my shoulders – anything just to keep my body cold enough.”

Fortune, who finished fifth at the Tokyo Paralympics two years ago, relished being back on the world stage as she produced impressive attempts in the first three rounds of the competition.

She opened with a 12.82m effort that placed her second after Ecuadorian Poleth Mendes threw 13.60m first time, but Fortune then never looked back as a 13.64m in the second round gave her a lead she wouldn’t relinquish.

The third round saw Fortune blast out to a Championship record 14.01m, breaking the 14-metre barrier for just the second time in her rapidly growing career and bettering her own mark for the global event set on the way to that gold in 2019.

With gold effectively secured, she kept going to record 12.49m in round four and a very good 13.72m in round five.

She added: “Before the competition I was really nervous. I was so scared because I didn’t want to lose that title. But training had been going so well I knew I had to trust myself and give everything.

“To hear I got a new Championship record, I was over the moon. Although it’s not a personal best it’s still incredible, so I’m really, really happy.”

The performance will be a huge boost as she begins the countdown to returning to the French capital next summer for the Paris Paralympics – where she is eyeing a world record!

Fortune, coached by Ian Robinson, added: “I have to truly trust that I can do it now, I know I can hit so much further, I know I can hit the world record.

“I’ve just hit 14m which is a barrier I’ve been trying to hit for months and months, so the Paralympics in 2024, what’s to come? Well, I want to find out; hopefully it will be something good.”

In the women’s T38 100m final Wales’s Olivia Breen – battling back after an ankle injury – finished a brave sixth in 13.48metres as defending champ and rival Sophie Hahn took bronze for Great Britain.

Breen has the long jump to come, the event where she took bronze in 2019 having struck gold in London in 2017.

British medallists:

GOLD: [3] Gavin Drysdale [Men’s T72 100m], Jonathan Broom-Edwards [Men’s T64 high jump], Sabrina Fortune [Women’s F20 shot put]

SILVER: [2] Rafi Solaiman [Men’s T72 100m], Sammi Kinghorn [Women’s T53 800m]

BRONZE: [4] Zac Shaw [Men’s T12 100m], Danny Sidbury [Men’s T54 5000m], Maria Lyle [Women’s T35 200m], Sophie Hahn [Women’s T38 100m]

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