Fifth World Title for Hollie Arnold
Hollie Arnold (coach: David Turner, club: Blackheath and Bromley) underlined her claim to be arguably one of Great Britain & Northern Ireland’s best ever athletes as she navigated one of the most hotly contested World Para Athletics Championships finals in recent memory to win a remarkable fifth successive global title in Paris.
Arnold has dominated the World Championships ever since winning her first title ten years ago in Lyon and showed immense fight and desire to make it a decade unbeaten in the women’s F46 javelin at a global gathering in the French capital, in a final that became a gripping and enthralling four-way battle for gold.
It took a throw of over 40 metres for the contest to be settled – something Arnold has achieved only twice since the end of 2019. The now five-time world champion pulled it out when needed most with a fourth-round effort of 41.06m proving too good. It was her sixth world medal after a bronze in 2011 and gave the GB&NI their tenth in Paris.
“I’m really overwhelmed and just so happy. It meant so much to me – my first ever World Championships was back in 2013 in Lyon and to be able to come here ten years later and win my fifth consecutive world title – it’s just amazing. I’ve thrown the best this year, after a rough few years throwing, so to be able to go out and throw 41m and win this competition – I am so happy.”
Arnold got off to a great start with an opening attempt of 37.36m, which gave her the lead before New Zealand’s Holly Robinson pushed her down to second with a second-round effort of 38.97m. Arnold only managing 36.59m.
The Brit retook the lead with a huge third attempt of 39.49m however she would be knocked down into second again before the round was over as Serbian Saska Sokolov produced an even better throw of 39.64m.
With her rivals circling, Arnold showed just what an incredible talent she is as in the fourth round she produced an effort that simply wouldn’t be beaten – that 41.06m mark that created clear separation from everyone else.
The tension eased in the fifth round as the field came to grips with Arnold’s 41.06m – the Brit throwing 37.37m – before two almighty scares in the sixth and final round in Paris.
First Venezuelan Naibys Daniela Morillo Gil came from almost nowhere to land near the 40-metre mark, only to actually register 39.40m but still good enough for bronze before Sokolov, who remained in second, did the same – however she too was just shy at 39.96m.
Not to be denied the chance to prove she is the best in the world, Arnold threw the best effort of the sixth round, a 39.97m, to close the competition and what followed was an outpouring of joyous emotion from the five-time world champion.
“I was so glad I’d put myself in the position to be last to throw so knowing that Saska, who was in second, didn’t throw further than me I was like ‘Oh my God, please don’t cry’,” she added. “That moment when I realised that I won I was on the floor crying – that’s how much it meant to me.
“It’s testament to my support mechanism, I’ve struggled this year, I’ve had lots going on but the fact I’ve had the psychological point of few and my friends and my family – they all know who they are; I just couldn’t be here without them. My parents are just the best, for Tokyo [Paralympics] they couldn’t be there so it was just so nice to have my parents and my boyfriend here flying the flag.”
With plenty of action still to come, find out when the remaining Welsh athletes will be in action here.