IPC World Athletics: GB coach Paula Dunn hails Doha medal tally

By Elizabeth HudsonBBC Sport in Doha
Olivia Breen, Maria Lyle, Georgie Hermitage and Sophie Hahn
Olivia Breen, Maria Lyle, Georgie Hermitage and Sophie Hahn set a new world record of 52.22 seconds to claim the T35-38 relay gold medal

British Paralympics head coach Paula Dunn has hailed her team after they won three gold medals on the final day of the IPC Athletics World Championships.

The 48-strong team won 13 golds in a 32-medal haul in the last big test before next year's Rio Paralympics.

It surpassed the 10-12 golds and 26-30 medal target that had been set for them before the competition in Doha.

"We are a high-achieving sport and we do expect success," Dunn told BBC Sport.

"We have come away with five world records and 24 personal bests in an event which is being held extremely late in the season.

"Only two or three athletes have not made finals so I think the performances on the track show we have been doing something right."

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London 2012 champion Hannah Cockroft brought the curtain down on the GB display here with her third gold of the meeting in Saturday's T34 400m to follow her success in the 100 and 800m.

There was also success for her fellow Paralympic champions Aled Davies, who triumphed in both the shot and discus, and Richard Whitehead, who set a new world record on his way to winning the T42 200m.

But some of the newcomers also made their mark on the competition with golds for debutants Kadeena Cox and Georgie Hermitage, while some of the younger members of the team also shone with Shaun Burrows almost running himself into the ground as he took bronze in the T38 400m, just eight weeks after taking up the event.

Fourteen-year-old Kare Adenagen won two bronzes behind Cockroft to mark herself out as one to watch in the future while 15-year-old sprinter Maria Lyle took two silvers behind 14-year-old Australian Isis Holt.

The team's display saw them finish fourth in the medal table, which was topped by China, who won 41 golds in their 85 medals followed by Russia and the United States and 54 world records were set over the course of the championship

While the event was a success in terms of organisation and facilities, there were disappointingly small crowds at each session, which will be a something the organisers of the London 2017 event, which will be held at the Olympic Stadium, will be hoping to learn from.

Baroness Grey-Thompson, GB Paralympic legend & BBC pundit:
"The athletes here have missed out on having crowd support. It is hard to celebrate huge personal performances when there is nobody to celebrate in front of."In some ways, this event shows that the Paralympic movement still has a huge amount to do. The IPC said bringing this event to this region was all about education and we are not going to see the impact of that for another five or 10 years."

But on track, Dunn knows that the challenge facing her team will be even greater next year.

"I know because we hit our targets here that people think it will be easy to go and repeat that in Rio next year but it is never that easy," she admitted.

Hannah Cockroft
Hannah Cockroft's T34 400m gold was in a new championship best of one minute 2.66 seconds

"We will take a few days off after this and then get down to serious planning for Rio. Everything is in place and we know what we need to do. We hit our targets in 2013, in 2014 and now again here, so I just need to do a full house in 2016.

"We still have some big hitters like Jonnie Peacock at home and we don't know what athletes will emerge over the next few months but a lot of the team here will be at 2016 if they get it right next year.

"We need to turn our fourth places into medals and keep the gold medallists in gold, so there is still a lot of hard work to be done in what is now a really competitive sport."