Blog – Cameron Ward
Cameron Ward is currently attending The International Paralympic Committee Athletics World Championships from January 21-30, 2011 in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Over 1000 athletes from more than 70 countries are expected to compete in Christchurch, at what will be the last major international athletics competition before the 2012 London Paralympic Games.
Thursday 27th January 2011 IPC Athletics World Championships, Christchurch
No amputees were running today so I only went into the track in the afternoon for some information gathering about this new knee joint set up that was being run on by the German above knee athelete Heinrich Popow. He was really nice and quite helpful in explaining how this newly modified knee joint helped athletes run faster (1/2 a second over 100 and a full second over 200!). He was however quite cagy about letting me in on the finer details as to exactly what Otto Bock had changed when they modified the 3R80. Yamamoto’s version of the knee which he created by copying photos of Heinrich’s knee is far from perfect as the hydraulics blow up ever two weeks.
Heinrich was even kind enough to allow Kelly to run with his knee joint and after a few shaky runs began running very fluently at an impressive looking pace. To have just won the 100mt final and setting a world record in the long jump and then try on a knee joint with the potential to make her go even faster and further was quite exciting for all involved. Kelly’s coach Tim Mathew’s was more than impressed and joined with me in trying to get as much information as possible on the knee and what chance there was of us being able to use it on our Australian athletes.
All In all the IPC Athletics World Championships was a huge success. All Australian athletes performed exceptionally well and can hold their heads up high as they have represented their country at the highest level and with superhuman efforts.
APC Prosthetics and the rest of Australia are really proud of you all.
Wednesday 26th January 2011 IPC Athletics World Championships, Christchurch
Australia day was like any other day in Christchurch – No beer, barbies, public holiday or even some recognition. The afternoon track session was however was an important one for the amputees. Scotty Reardon just missed a medal in the T42 100m with a time of 13:45. Whilst not a PB his style on the track is more than impressive. Nobody in that final ran with the same fluidity and symmetry. For this reason he had been contact by world record holder Earl Connor who after seeing Scott run believes he will be the man to beat his world record of 12:14. Heinrich Popow won the gold in a time of 12:56 And a Japanese runner Yamamoto came third. Interestingly Popow is running on a specially modified Otto Bock knee which the Japanese runner had photographed at a previous meet and had copied. The knee is apparently responsible for slashing half a second off Popow’s 100m time and a full second off Yamamoto’s 200mt time! It is this knee I am planning to trial Kelly and maybe Scotty on in tomorrow’s lunch break.
Arguable the highest profile event of the games was up next the T44 100m. Three bilateral athletes were in the line up including Oscar Pistorious. As expected the bilaterals were a lot slower off the start and gained pace throughout the race creating a finish line that could not be split by the naked eye. First and second were clocked as a dead heat as were third and fourth: Jerome Singleton of the USA took the glory falling over the finish line in 11:34. Oscar Pistorious also ran 11:34 but was determined second from the photo. Alan Oliveira of Brazil came in third with an impressive 11:43 also split by a photo from Arnu Fourie a South African unilateral athlete who has been fast all week. My call is to keep an eye on Alan Oliveira as the next guy to be breaking world records and taking over from Oscar as the fastest man with no legs.
The most disappointing thing for Australia all meet was a false start from Simon Patmore in the T46 arm amputees 100m, the race he had qualified fastest for and was favoured to win. Shattering for Simon and the team but hopefully some good can be gained from it in the lead up to London.
Today’s racing is the last of the Australian amputee athlete’s I will have the pleasure of cheering home as I unfortunately have to miss the relays on the weekend. Stay tuned for a potential update on a new knee joint…..
Tuesday 25th January 2011 IPC Athletics World Championships, Christchurch
This morning was a little disappointing as the T42 100mt heats were not run – instead going to a straight final tomorrow so we missed the chance of seeing our Scott Reardon race again. Far from disappointing however was the afternoon track session. From 4pm until 5pm the hundred meter section of the track was being value added by a lot of carbon fibre as both woman and men amputees fought it out for the most prestigious title of the all – the fastest athlete in the world. Not satisfied with a gold and world record in the long jump, Kelly Cartwright, after a slow start smashed the field in the T42 100mts in a Championship record time of 16:46. A German girl took out the silver medal whilst a bilateral above knee German girl took the bronze medal in an impressive time 17:43. Kelly’s training partner, fellow Aussie Champion Michelle Errichiello just missed the medals coming 4th with a time 0f 17:58. Michelle still holds the world record in this event.
Following the girls race, fellow aussie Carlee Beatie came from well back in the field to finish in the bronze medal position with a season best time of 12:90 in the T46, 100m. A few races later and it was the hotly contested mens T44 100m heats. The two favourites Oscar Pistorious and Jerome Singleton were in heat 1 finishing one two in 11:33 and 11:35 respectively. Heat 2 had Jim Bob Bizzell Qualify in a time of 11:71. Jim Bob had recently had some adjustments made to his sprinting leg at APC Prosthetics just days before he flew across to Christchurch from Sydney. Heat 3 had our Aussie hopeful Jack Swift who only qualified at the last minute, preferring the 400m event. Jack had a very strong start but was mowed down by two bilateral amputees over the line and did not manage to qualify for the final.
All in all a very exciting and rewarding day for our Aussies on the track – looking forward to more action tomorrow. Stay tuned to ABC 2 on Saturday for two separate packages and keep up do date with the latest on IView on the Web.
Monday 24th January 2011 IPC Athletics World Championships, Christchurch, NZ
I arrived at the track early this morning and headed straight to the warm up track where I was able to watch some amazing athletes warming up. These include a number of bilateral below knee amputees and a bilateral above knee. Oscar Pistorious (famously nicknamed “The Blade Runner”) was among those warming up – he went on to win gold in the Men’s T44 200mts with two other bilateral amputees also running very quickly. Scott Reardon ran well in his T42 200 m final but the event was taken out by a bilateral AK amputee from Britain who ran the winning time with the use of knee joints.
There was also time for me to take some photos and get some information from a German above knee athlete who is running on an Otto Bock knee joint that is not normally used by Above knee sprinters. Otto Bock has modified the joint considerably and seems to be keeping it close to their chest – Watch this space.
Sunday 23rd January 2011 IPC Athletics World Championships, Christchurch, NZ
I arrived at the track in Christchurch in the afternoon of the 23rd in time for the F42 long jump where two Australians Michelle and Kelly were competing. The event nearly didn’t go ahead as there were to be only 5 girls entered in the event. It was only after some fast talking from the two Aussie girl’s coach, Tim Mathews that allowed the event to go ahead. He talked a German girl who was qualified to enter and thank goodness he did! The current world record holder, a German bilateral above knee girl was very impressive in the warm ups and was definitely the one to beat. Her huge stride length and amazing spring was amazing to watch.
There was not a lot between the girls through the first three jumps until Kelly took to the track for her third jump. She flew through the air further than anyone else had before and landed 4.19m away from the board she took off from. A world record than none of the other competitors could manage to better! Not a bad start for our Australian amputee athletes – A gold medal and a world record right from the start. I can’t wait to see if there will be repeat performances that are as sensational as this one….. I will try and keep you all informed as things eventuate over here in Christchurch.
Friday 14th January Pre World Championship International Meet
On Friday the 14th, a pre world championships international meet was held at Homebush. Dave Cathy and I attended to watch our athletes as they work towards the London Paralympics. The highlight for us was seeing Kelly Cartwright win the T42 100mts in a world record time of 15.97. It was not an official record as it was assisted with a 2.8 wind.
Thomas Howells (Dave’s son) was most impressed that he was given the duty of eating Kelly’s chocolate gold medals as she was off chocolate during the season. On to Christchurch to see if the chocolate could be replaced with something a little less edible!