Paralympics: Kiwi sprinter Danielle Aitchison scorches to world record in Japan

Kiwi sprinter Danielle Aitchison has backed up her silver medal with recordbreaking gold at the para athletics world championships at Kobe, Japan.

Aitchison, 22, blitzed the field in the women's T36 200 metres with a world record mark of 27.47s to retain her crown in style.

Born with cerebral palsy, the Hamiltonian wiped a staggering 0.70s from the previous record, exacting revenge on Chinese rival Yiting Shi, who claimed gold ahead of Aitchison in the women's T36 100 metres.

Danielle Aitchison poses next to her world record time.
Danielle Aitchison poses next to her world record time. Photo credit: Photosport

In a measure of the quality of the race, Shi ran an Asian record of 28.06s - some 0.11s under her previous world record mark, which was firmly erased from the record books by Aitchison's effort. Mali Lovell of Australia rounded out the podium, clocking 29.81s.

Trailing Shi by a couple of metres entering the home straight, Aitchison did not panic, gradually closing the gap on her opponent halfway down the home stretch, before drawing clear to victory.

An ecstatic Aitchison says she was startled by her winning time.

"It is so amazing," said Aitchison. "I can't believe it.  

"I learned a lot from the 100m. I learned to run my own race and be ready to go when the gun goes, and that's what I managed to execute in the 200m.

"The aim was [to] focus on myself and I felt I did exactly that.

"Coming across the line, I did not expect to run such a time. I was totally mindblown by the time."

Aitchison, whose previous personal best of 28.19s was set at the NZ national championships at Wellington in March, can now look ahead to the Paris Paralympics with optimism, after enjoying a hugely successful championships at Kobe.

"It gives me a lot of confidence going into Paris," she said. "There are still some things to work on, but I am ahead of where I thought I was.

"It gives me the confidence that I can do even better at the Paralympics."

Kiwi Ann Grimaldi followed up Aitchison's success with silver in the women's T47 long jump, leaping 5.84m. 

Grimaldi, 27, who was born with a withered right forearm and no right hand, has now won silver at the last three world champions, behind Ecuador's Kiara Rodriquez, who cleared 6.17m this time.

The Dunedinite is the two-time reigning Paralaympics champion in the event and won bronze over 100 metres at Kobe, also won by Rodriquez.