Kinghorn backed to impress
Scottish wheelchair racer Sammi Kinghorn can emerge as one of the stars of the world para athletics championships, British head coach Paula Dunn has claimed.
The 21-year-old from Melrose is set for four shots at a medal in London and arrives in the form of her life after setting a slew of world and European records this summer.
And although she missed out on the medals at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio, Dunn is certain Kinghorn – who was paralysed in an accident at her home at the age of 14 – is ready to jump into the elite.
“Sammi is one of those athletes who improves year on year,” she said. “I’m hoping this is the. year she steps up. We’d always said 2020 would be the time for her to shine ad push onto the podium. In athletics terms, she’s still quite young. In reality, she’s still quite newly-injured. But her coach Ian Mirfin has done a great job with her.
“She could have snuck a medal in Rio. But she competed in every final. She had personal bests galore. I wasn’t expecting her to get a medal. It can be quite intimidating in that atmosphere. But she is truly a podium athlete and I expect her to get that traction now. We don’t want to put pressure on her but she’s in great shape.”
Dunn has set a target of “26–30” medals for the British team at the showpiece which kicks off on Friday night at the London Stadium but she is wary of the huge expectations on the hosts.
“We do have to manage it,” she said. “The track is the track. We don’t want to put pressure on anybody. If they try their best, the results will come. But it is a great opportunity to do it at home. And I’m hoping 2017 does what 2012 did – to give a platform for Para athletics.”