After Paris – Scottish Para stars shine as the show moves to London

Monday 24th July 2023

The umbrella of the London Athletics Meet encompasses a number of events beyond those of the Diamond League, including several Para track contests, where Scots gave a strong account of themselves on Sunday.

Coming hot on the heels of some fantastic performances at the World Para Champs in Paris, the athletes themselves admitted to a blend of relief, weariness and exhilaration at being back on the track before a huge London audience.

First up was the men’s 1500m ambulant race, with training mates Ben Sandilands, Owen Miller and Steven Bryce on the track. An impressive late surge from newly-crowned World Champion Ben saw him win in 3:52.95, overtaking Owen who finished in 3:55.54, with Steven notching up a SB of 4:01.98 in 5th.

“I always have that speed at the end, save it in the tank for the end,” said Ben on his push for victory.

Owen added: “That was a good experience, I’m happy with the way the performance went today. These boys push me but I’m still giving them what I’ve got so, I’ll just keep going.”

Samantha Kinghorn gave a strong finish to win the wheelchair 800m in 1:46.57, with Melanie Woods 6th in 1:52.07.

Samantha said: “It was very tactical, I tried to do a little turn of speed on the back straight and she wasn’t for letting me by her, so I was ‘Right, I’m just going to have to leave it to the last minute and hope that my 100m power  will show in the end’ and I’m so thankful that it did.”

After the emotional rollercoaster of competing at a World Championships where she took the 100m title and three silver medals, she said she was happy to return to the London Stadium, home to her first World Championship title in 2017: “This is by far my favourite stadium in the world, having that crowd, that’s amazing, I know that we’re first on and sometimes we don’t get the crowds, but there was quite a few people bums on seats ready to cheer, and that was good, and I’m glad we showed them a good race and an exciting race.”

For Maria Lyle it was a 14.62 run for 5th place in the women’s 100m ambulant race.

Reflecting on the World Paras, which saw her take two bronze medals, she said the London meet had been a great follow-on race: “I think it was just a bit of a bonus – I’m quite mentally tired, just being at a Worlds is so mentally draining up and down, so it’s actually quite nice to come here be a part of the Diamond League and get that opportunity, so I was actually quite relaxed coming into it.”

Tags: Ben Sandilands, London Diamond League, Maria Lyle, Melanie Woods, Owen Miller, Para athletics, Samantha Kinghorn, Steven Bryce

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