Records tumble as Roeger races to World Champs gold
Michael Roeger and El Amin Chentouf produced world record performances to strike gold at the Virgin Money London Marathon on Sunday (28 April), clinching World Para Athletics Championship titles in the T46 and T12 categories as Misato Michishita completed a London hat-trick in the women’s T12 race.
Daniel Romanchuk and Manuela Schär raced home to take the wheelchair crowns, but it was Australia’s Roeger and Moroccan runner Chentouf who stole the show in the ambulant races.
Roeger smashed the men’s T46 world record clocking 2:22:51 in only his second ever marathon, having made his debut over the 26.2-mile distance in Melbourne last October.
The 30-year-old was hampered by cramp in the closing stages of his debut and it wasn’t easy for him this time either, which made victory all the sweeter.
“I guess goal number one was to win and goal number two was to PB,” said the satisfied Australian afterwards. “I did both those.
“There’s a lot to learn in the marathon. I missed two drinks stations, which is crucial, but I’m very happy.
“The London Marathon, the IPC [World Para Athletics], they’ve put on a great event and I feel very grateful to be here. The crowd the whole way was unreal – it’s giving me goose bumps just thinking about it.”
Roeger only turned to road running last season having won T46 1500m bronze at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games as well as three world bronze medals over the distance.
Now he plans to focus his attention solely on the roads and winning the Paralympic title next year.
“It’s special. I did the job, got my first global gold, and it’s a great stepping stone towards Tokyo 2020,” he said.
Derek Rae clinched second in 2:27:08, a big PB for the Briton too, while Morocco’s Abdelhadi El Harti was third in 2:30:44.
Moroccan Chentouf, who competes in the T12 class for vision impaired athletes, was also in record-breaking form, knocking 10 seconds off his previous best set on the same course at the last World Championships four years ago.
“To be world champion in London was an objective I’ve been preparing for in Morocco,” said the 36-year-old, after sealing his fourth London Marathon victory.
“To win and to get a world record is fantastic. The London Marathon is the most beautiful in the world. I hope that the next time I win and break the record again too.”
Spain’s Alberto Suarez Laso took silver in 2:25:50 while Japan’s Tadashi Horikoshi won bronze in 2:25:56.
Michishita won the London crown for a third successive time in 3:06:18, some 10 minutes outside her best but good enough for the 42-year-old’s first global title after she was third in 2015 and took silver at Rio 2016.
“I was determined to win, that was my plan, so I’m very happy that I was able to do what I wanted,” said Michishita.
“This gold medal is special for me as it is a bridge towards the next step which is Tokyo 2020, so this was really important.”
Brazil’s Paralympic bronze medallist Edneusa de Jesus Santos Dorta was runner-up for the second year in a row. Meryem En-Nourhi was third after Spain’s former world record holder Maria Paredes Rodriguez was disqualified.
Romanchuk claimed his first global title in the men’s T54 class, crossing the line in 1:33:38 ahead of the Swiss Paralympic champion Marcel Hug and Japan’s Tomoki Suzuki, while Schär was a dominant winner of the women’s race after storming clear at the three-mile point and going to win by five and a half minutes from Tatyana McFadden and Madison de Rozario.