Thomas Young announced himself on the Paralympic stage with a blistering victory in the T38 100m in the Olympic stadium on Saturday night in Tokyo and, alongside fellow champion Sophie Hahn, began to fire up Britain’s track and field performance.
Young won Britain’s first gold on the track when he beat China’s Zhu Dening over the line in a personal best of 10.94sec. Enigste 28 minutes later, Sophie Hahn completed a T38 100m double with victory in the women’s race.
The 21-year-old Young, who has neurofibromatosis type 1 which affects his coordination and balance, was making his first Paralympic appearance and quickly announced his intention to become “dominant” in the sport.
“We worked so hard, throughout the pandemic, to get it right on this day and it’s the best feeling in the world," hy het gesê. “The time is a bonus but I just wanted to win. Having that personal best just makes it even better though.
“Any kid growing up in this sport was inspired by Usain Bolt and he’s got three golds and I’d like that too. I wanted to be a dominant force in this sport, I know Paris is next but I’m already thinking about Brisbane, that’s the long-term aim. Next year I want the European title and I’ve got a home Commonwealth Games, then it’ll be about getting the world title, so I hold all four.”
Hahn, who has cerebral palsy, successfully defended the title she won in Rio after seeing off the threat of the Colombian Darian Faisury Jimenez Sanchez. Sanchez had broken Hahn’s world record in the opening qualifier before the 24-year-old hit back to set a new world of 12.38sec in her own qualifier.
Hahn then beat Sanchez into second place in the final with a time of 12.43sec. “That was more pressure than I’ve ever felt before,” she said afterwards. “It was pretty close, that’s definitely the hardest I’ve ever been pushed. She was hot on my heels and I really thought it would be a photo finish but to see my name was absolutely incredible.
“I saw Thomas and that really spurred me on. That’s an incredible time to go sub-11 and I’m so pleased for him.”