Akeem Stewart showed his greatness once more, breaking his own World record to claim gold in the men’s F44 javelin at the World Para Athletics Championships yesterday at London’s Olympic Stadium in England.
“I didn’t think I would get a medal in the javelin but I’m very, very happy,” said Stewart following the win. “I didn’t get it in Doha but now I am a world champion and a world record breaker. It is a dream come true.”
It was the second medal of the Games for T&T, added to the bronze bagged by sprinter Nyoshia Cain in the women’s T44 100m final on Monday.
Stewart’s amazing throw came on his second attempt, launching the spear and measured 57.61 metres, surpassing the previous record held by him of 57.32 which he achieved in winning gold at the Rio Paralympics last year.
“I definitely didn’t expect a world record, but I am a very competitive guy so whatever the guy from Iceland threw, I had to try to beat it,” Stewart boldly said.
The 25-year-old local field specialist opened with a 54.68-throw and later in his fourth try, reached 56.85, which would have won the gold as well, as the eventual silver medallist Helgi Sveinsson of Iceland got a Championship record of 56.74.
Stewart’s final throw reached 56.64 after which a tweet was posted by the World Para Athletics saying: “He makes it look so easy!”
Canadian Alister McQueen, who had won silver at the Paralympics, achieved a personal milestone in throwing an area record of 55.72 to seal the bronze medal.
“This is an event I only do as a sideline. I was injured in the discus and needed to do this to be able to do the shot. That’s my main event. I was just giving this a go, really. I didn’t expect to win at all,” said Stewart modestly.
He will be going his second medal when he takes on the best the world has to offer in the men’s shot put F44 final on Sunday. The day before, Cain tackles her final event, the women’s T44 200m dash hoping to reach the final on Sunday as well.
T&T’s wheelchair athlete Jabari Knight, who resides in Watford, England, also competed yesterday in his second and final event at the Games and he placed 16th overall in the men’s 200 metres T54.
Racing in lane seven in the second of two heats, the 28-year-old clocked 29.60 seconds to cross ninth in his qualifying heat. Knight, who has paraplegia as the result of a gunshot, did not progress to the final as only the first three in each heat and the next two fastest advance.
In his first race, the men’s 100m T54, he placed eighth in 17.16 and did not advance to the final. He was 17th overall.