Australian Jaryd Clifford’s gut-busting run to win vision-impaired 1500 metres title


“But it’s the best feeling in the world – quite incredible.”

Clifford’s time of three minutes 47.78 seconds eclipsed his own world record set in Sydney in April this year by 0.11s.

“To get the Australian team off on the best note possible on the first night of finals here is really special to me.

“I felt a little extra pressure being the first medal event for the Australian team, and I know all my teammates back in the hotel would be watching. I hope I can give them confidence to achieve a medal or whatever they are hoping and aiming for.”

The Dubai world championships run for nine days and finish on November 15.

The inspiration for Clifford’s 1500m win can be partly attributed to his training partner and fellow Australian teammate in Dubai, Michael Roeger.

He took gold in the 2019 London marathon last April setting a new world record for his arm amputee (T46) class.

“I’ve had a photo of that on my phone since then. And I’ve wanted to replicate that moment for myself,” Clifford said.

“Because he worked so hard and he’s such a great guy.”

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Clifford has been building to something like this – as a 16-year-old at the Rio Paralympics in 2016 he finished seventh in the 1500m final. Then a year later at the 2017 worlds in London he claimed bronze in the event.

Now, it’s on to the Tokyo Paralympic Games in 2020.

“I’m in a generation of vision-impaired runners that are the best in the world,” he said.

“Tokyo is going to have a treat watching this race. Although I’ve won today, when I line up on the start line in Tokyo, this will mean nothing.”

But Clifford’s Dubai campaign isn’t over yet. He will run the 5000m final next Thursday night.

AAP

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