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UK paralympians first to set records at London Olympic stadium

Last updated on: May 9, 2012 11:02 IST

UK paralympians set records at London Olympic stadium

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London's Olympic Stadium witnessed its first world record on Tuesday when British wheelchair racer Hannah Cockroft set a new mark in the T34 category for 100 metres.

Competing at a Paralympic test event just days after the official opening of the 80,000-seat venue, the 19-year-old world champion stopped the clock at 18.56 seconds.

Ireland's Michael McKillop then became the first male to set a world record on the track when he slashed 15 seconds off his own record in the T37 category 1,500.

"Incredible is the word," Cockroft told the BBC.

"I didn't come here expecting anything amazing at all. I had no idea I was near world record pace."

Her day did not go entirely to plan, however, as she suffered some transport problems arriving at the east London Olympic Park and had to jump in a taxi.

"The morning was really stressful, the coach broke down and then they wouldn't let the taxis in," she said.

"I missed the warm-up and had to just get my numbers on and go straight onto the track. It was the worst preparation I'd ever had before a race."


Image: Hannah Cockroft
Photographs: Martin Hunter / Getty Images

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'Being the first male to do it in this stadium is quite a nice thought'

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Ireland's McKillop, a gold medallist in Beijing, played down his achievement.

"It's nice to be here and breaking a world record. Being the first male to do it in this stadium is quite a nice thought," he said after finishing in 3:59.54.

"It's only a 400 track with lots of seats around it basically, so it's similar to where I train which is also a 400m track. I've just got to get used to it."

The stadium, the heart of the London Olympics, has been hosting test events since last Friday when the British Universities and Colleges outdoor championships took place.

On Saturday a night of athletics and entertainment attracted a crowd of 40,000 to witness the official opening.

Image: Michael McKillop of Ireland competes in the Men's 1500m T20/37 during the Visa London Disability Athletics Challenge test event for the London 2012 Paralympic Games on Tuesday
Photographs: Julian Finney / Getty Images

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