Support through Sport UK's volunteers covered both weekends of the London 2017 World Para Athletics Championships...
Saturday 15th July - Claire and Nicki
With over twelve titles to be decided and lots of British athletes in contention for these titles, we knew we were in for an exciting evening of sport.
The evening began with three throwing events: the women's F57 discus, the men's F20 shot and the women's F32 shot. All three competitions were close-fought, with Safia Djelal of Algeria scooping gold in the discus and Muhammed Zolkefli of Malaysia, and Maroua Ibrahmi of Tunisia, taking gold in the men's and women's shots respectively.
The first track events of the evening were the heats for the women's T11 200m (where runners with full visual impairments are linked to guides). These races were, for us, some of the most exciting to watch as the athletes and their guides worked so amazingly together. The athletes and guides showed great trust in one another, which resulted in the athletes running freely and the guides judging the crossing of the line to perfection. China dominated both heats with Liu Cuiquing and Guohua Zhou both claiming first place and their spots in the final.
The F22 women's discus final was won by Cassie Mitchell of the USA; Great Britain’s Jo Butterfield sadly being unable to compete.
One of the many highlights and unforgettable moments came in the women's F46 javelin, in which the crowd vocalised their support for Great Britain’s Hollie Arnold. After some massive throws from all the competitors, Hollie's fourth throw of 43.02m broke her own WR, which she set in Rio last year. With nobody else able to throw further in their remaining throws, Hollie earned her third successive world title.
The men were next on the track for the longer races; the T46 1500m title being won by David Emong of Uganda; the T11 5000m by Samwel Mushai Kimani.
Then came the next British highlight of the evening; the roar of the crowd signalling Richard Whitehead's entrance on to the track for the men's T42 200m final. Whitehead lined up alongside fellow Brit David Henson (who Support through Sport UK had the pleasure of interviewing in 2015) for what was to be an exciting final. As a double amputee, Whitehead took a while to take the lead, but as he came out of the bend and on to the final straight, nobody could catch him. With deafening support from the home crowd, Whitehead took the title comfortably in a Championship Record time of 23.26s, with Henson topping up the GB medal tally with a bronze.
There were two guaranteed medals for Britain in the T33 men's 100m race, as Toby Gold, Daniel Bramall and Andrew Small all lined up at the start line. Ahmad Almutairi of Kuwait pushed over the line first for gold, with Gold and Small claiming silver and bronze respectively.
The home crowd's support continued when Kadeena Cox and Sophie Hahn lined up for the T38 200m. The Brits looked on form as the race got underway and Hahn crossed the line in a new WR time of 26.11s to take gold and the title, with Cox finishing third in a PB time.
The T53 200m saw the final British athlete, Samantha Kinghorn, make a bid for gold. Could she round off a fantastic night for the host team? Yes she could. Not only did she cross the line first to take the title, she also beat her own WR time.
Sunday 23rd July - Helen and Colin
On the penultimate session and the final day of the Championships, we hoped that GB would be able to add to their already highly impressive medal haul. And they didn't disappoint; medals coming from both expected and unexpected places.
The session began with four field event finals - the men's F12 discus, the men's F34 javelin, the women's F57 shot and the men's F37 shot. Golds went to Hermanus Blom (South Africa), Mauricio Valencia (Colombia), Saif Nassima (Algeria) and Mindaugus Bilius (Lithuania) respectively.
The first track event of the day was the men's T53 100m heats; GB's Mickey Bushell going in the second race. Bushell, the 2012 Paralympic Champion, cruised through in third to qualify for the final later in the morning.
Away from the track, the women's T47 long jump commenced, in which 17-year-old Polly Maton was jumping for GB. Maton jumped 5.11m in the fourth round and looked like securing bronze when France's Angelina Lanza pulled an impressive 5.22m from out of the bag, pushing Polly out of medal contention. Maton had just one chance to respond and she leapt 5.23 in her final jump: a lifetime best and a silver medal-winning performance.
"It doesn't feel real," said Maton after. "I think I'm going to wake up in five minutes and someone is going to tell me 'no, no, that didn't happen and you still need to compete!'"
Next up was the men's F54 javelin, the women's T47 400m and the men's F46 discuss, won by Manolis Stefanoudakis (Greece), Lu Li (China) and Zhanbiao Hou (China) respectively. In the women's T47 400m, South Africa's Anrune Liebenberg was leading for most of the race but ran out of steam at the very end and was overtaken by Li.
The men's T20 5000m featured Britain's Steve Morris, who came home fifth in a lifetime best time. The race winner was Cristiano Pereira of Portugal, who displayed some gutsy front running and quickly gained a lead of over a hundred metres. Michael Brannigan, the US world record holder who'd already won two gold at the Games, began his fight back with six or seven laps left to go, but Pereira maintained his pace and focus and was too far ahead to be caught.
The final field event of the morning - the men's F44 shot - was won by Trinidad and Tobago's Akeem Stewart.
The last three track sessions of the day were the men's T35 100m, the men's T53 100m and the women's T53 100m, and they all featured British athletes. The men's T35 100m fielded all of the Rio medallists, yet Britain's Jordan Howe managed to split them up, claiming a superb silver medal. Howe's success then set the tone for the final two 100m races: Mickey Bushell claiming silver in the men's T53 and GB's Sammi Kinghorn claiming her second gold of the Championships in the women's T53.
"I hoped because of what I'd done in the 200m that I might win a medal," said Kinghorn. "I had no idea when I crossed the line, I heard the crowd scream and thought 'oh I've won a medal' and then I saw my name pop up and I thought 'really?!' - it was amazing."