Shelly Woods was the first GB track athlete in action today and she didn’t disappoint, cruising into the T54 5000m final.
Woods, who took bronze in the event in Beijing four years ago and at last year’s World Championships, came home third in heat one to book an automatic berth in the final.
Five athletes were in contention going into the final 400m of a cagey heat, but the 26-year-old pushed on with 300m to go and crossed the finish line in 13 minutes 12.25 seconds. Amanda McGrory of the USA and China’s Liu Wenjun were first and second.
“It was amazing out there, I’ve never experienced anything like it; when they called my name it was immense,” said Woods.
“There are so many people out there and I guess you can take that different ways, but for me it can only be good because they’re all shouting for me.
“The aim was to come top three and qualify. It was very tactical and most of the guys were quite cagey, but it’s job done and I’m looking forward to the final.”
The final takes place on Sunday at 10:37.
Hannah Cockroft also looked impressive as she qualified for tonight’s T34 100m final, setting a Paralympic record of 18.24 seconds to win her heat by more than two seconds.
Cockroft, who is competing at her first Paralympic Games said: “I’m in the best shape of my life, so if one of the girls beats me then they really will be the best in the world.
“I’ve never competed in front of so many people before. When they said my name, they (the crowd) went mental and I was a little scared. I was told exactly what to focus on, what speed I needed to take, and I nailed it. So, hopefully, I will do the same tonight.”
Mel Nicholls finished fifth in her heat in 22:41 and misses the final, which is at 20:00 tonight.
GB teenager Sally Brown just missed out on a place in the final of the T46 200m. She equaled her season’s best with a time of 27.78 for fourth in her heat, but the 17-year-old just missed out on ‘fastest loser’ spot.
The Women’s Sports Magazine
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