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Rehm shines in long jump at Olympic Stadium

On the first night of athletics, Germany’s Markus Rehm won the long jump F42/44 and Ireland’s Jason Smyth cruised in his 100m T13 heat.

Markus Rehm Markus Rehm won the men's long jump F42/44 on the first evening of athletics. © • Getty Images

“The heartfelt welcome from the crowd made all the nerves disappear very quickly. It felt like the crowd was empathising with us."

The first evening session of athletics at the 2012 Paralympic Games got off to a thrilling start, with a new world record in the men’s long jump F42/44 within the first five minutes of action at the Olympic Stadium.

Markus Rehm’s opening leap of 7.14m, (1040 points) which he went on to better in later rounds, set the tone for an exhilarating evening in front of a sell-out crowd.

Rehm went on to win gold (7.35m/1,093 points) and German teammate Wojtek Czyz (6.33m, 983 points) took silver in the event.

“Above all it was fun,” Rehm said. “The heartfelt welcome from the crowd made all the nerves disappear very quickly. It felt like the crowd was empathising with us."

On the track, the men’s 5,000m T54 heats were a highlight, as Australia’s Kurt Fearnely, Switzerland’s Marcel Hug and Great Britain’s David Weir all qualified for the semi-finals.

Julien Casoli took the top spot ahead Fearnley in the first heat, with Thailand’s defending Paralympic champion Prawat Wahoram claiming third place.

The second heat got off to a slower start as world-record holder Hug controlled the pace and crossed the line in a time of 11:31.78.

In the third and final heat, all eyes were on Britain’s Weir, who sped to the front with one lap remaining before cruising home with an easy victory in 11:28.88, much to the delight of the home crowds.

“It’s a really great feeling,” he said. “I did have nerves but they were good nerves and I didn’t panic at all. I’m in the right frame of mind and I’m in good shape. It was everything I expected, so I loved it out there.”

In the final of the women’s 100m T34, host nation hero Hannah Cockroft raced home to clinch gold for Great Britain setting a new Paralympic record of 18.06 in the process.

The 20-year-old never looked under threat after a superb start, and pulled away from her rivals to win convincingly ahead of European champion Amy Siemons from the Netherlands, with Australia’s Rosemary Little claiming bronze.

In the final of the men’s 200m T37, Russia’s Roman Kapranov powered through the field in the last 50m to clinch gold ahead of China’s Shang Guangxu and Omar Monterola of Venezuela.

“I can’t quite believe what happened to me yet,” said Kapranov, whose time of 23.10 equalled the world record. “It’s the most important event in my career, as a Paralympic medal is an eternal victory. There was a lot of support from the crowd and I think there are a lot of Russians in the stadium.”

China’s world record holder Liu Ping underlined her dominance of the women’s 200m T35 event as she led the final from start to finish, stopping the clock at 32.72, a new Paralympic record.

Oxana Corso of Italy took silver, with Virginia McLachlan of Canada securing bronze.

Next up was the men’s 100m T35 heats, where 2008 Paralympic silver medallist Xinhan Fu stopped the clock at 13.12 to qualify ahead of Argentina’s Hernan Barreto and Niels Stein of Germany.

Ukraine’s Iurii Tsaruk coasted through to the final as did Teboho Mokgalagadi of South Africa and Allel Boukhalfa of Algeria. Two 16-year-olds, Jordan Howe of Great Britain and Russia’s Anton Bubnov, clinched the remaining fastest losers’ spots in the heats.

In the men’s 200m T46 heats, world champion Aresti Antonis of Cyprus dominated the first heat, while in the next heat was an easy win for Australian Simon Patmore, who held a strong lead with 100m to go and eased up over the line to take the first qualifying place ahead of Yury Nosulenko of Russia.

There was no doubt about the winner of the first heat in round one of the men’s 100m T13 event. Ireland’s defending Paralympic champion Jason Smyth, dubbed the fastest Paralympian ever, sped out the blocks to qualify in first place, beating his own world record with a time of 10.54. The bronze medallist in Beijing, Luis Felipe Gutierrez, finished second with Artem Loginov in third.

In the women’s discus F40, Najat El Garraa set a new world record on her way to Paralympic victory. The 30-year-old from Morocco bettered her bronze medal finish in Beijing four years ago to take gold ahead of Raoua Tlili of Tunisia, who threw a personal best 31.16m, while Meng Genjimisu’s throw of 30.44m was enough to secure bronze for China.

Fittingly, a new world record in the men’s discus F57/58 rounded off day one of athletics. Alexey Ashapatov saved the best until last, winning gold with 1043 points (60.72m) in his final throw. 48-year-old Rostislav Pohlmann of the Czech Republic took silver with 951 points (46.89m) whilst Egyptian Metawa Abouelkhir never bettered his season’s best opening throw of 54.19m – a score of 944 points, to take bronze.