24 May 2024

Kiwi sprinter Danielle Aitchison strikes gold at Para World Champs

5:54 am on 24 May 2024
New Zealand sprinter Danielle Aitchison breaks a world record in winning gold at the 2024 World Para Athletics World Championships in Japan.

Danielle Aitchison set a world record at the 2024 World Para Athletics World Championships in Japan. Photo: supllied / Athletics NZ

New Zealand sprinter Danielle Aitchison has won gold at the Para Athletics World Championships in Japan following up on her silver earlier this week.

Aitchison executed an electrifying piece of sprinting to strike women's 200m T36 gold in a jaw-dropping world record mark of 27.47 to retain her crown in style.

The 22-year-old Hamilton sprinter wiped a staggering 0.70 from the previous world record mark to exact revenge on her Chinese rival Yiting Shi - who claimed gold ahead of Aitchison in the women's 100m T36 on Monday.

In a measure of the quality of the race, Shi ran an Asian record of 28.06 - some 0.11 under her previous world record mark which was firmly erased from the record books courtesy of Aitchison's majestic run. The podium was rounded out by Mali Lovell of Australia, who clocked 29.81.

The Kiwi, who has enjoyed a fantastic 2024, did not panic after she trailed Shi by a couple of metres as the pair entered the home straight. Shi with her familiar staccato style appeared at that point poised to compete a sprint double in Kobe, but Aitchison had other ideas.

Gradually eating up the gap on her Chinese opponent midway down the home stretch, she hit the front and accelerated clear to an emphatic success.

An ecstatic Aitchison said of her win in a world record time: "It is so amazing. I can't believe it. I learned a lot from the 100m, I learned to run my own race and be ready to go when the gun goes and that's what I managed to execute in the 200m. The aim was [to] focus on myself - and I felt I did exactly that.

"Coming across the line I did not expect to run such a time. I was totally mind blown by the time."

Aitchison, whose previous PB was 28.19 set at the Jennian Homes New Zealand Track & Field Championships in Wellington in March, can now look ahead to the Paris Paralympic Games with optimism after enjoying a hugely successful championship in Kobe.

"It gives me a lot of confidence going into Paris, there are still some things to work on, but I am ahead of where I thought I was. It gives me the confidence that I can do even better at the Paralympics."

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