Devine intervention can't stop David from celebrating European gold

Devine defied the weather en route to European gold in Berlin. Pic: Ben Booth Photography
Devine defied the weather en route to European gold in Berlin. Pic: Ben Booth Photography

Four seasons’ weather in one race threatened to derail his golden bid but there was no stopping David Devine from becoming World Para Athletics European champion in Berlin.

The Liverpool runner dominated from start to finish in the T13 5000m, streaking clear of the field in the final lap to secure his maiden senior gold, a time of 15:11.28 confirming his success.

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But that only told half the story of a runner who had to overcome more than just other competitors on the track.

The race began and ended in bright sunshine but it was in the middle where the elements proved troublesome, with heavy rain almost catching Devine out at the most inopportune moment

“I only had my trainers on because I was struggling with my heel, I spoke to someone on the team and she told me the sky was blue and that we were fine,” said the runner, who was disappointed to only pick up 1500m silver earlier in the week.

“But then it started raining after the first kilometre and I thought I was in trouble, luckily it stopped after about two laps and I was able to hold it together.

“If it’s too wet then you’ve got no grip in your trainers, I thought I’d made a massive mistake and that I should have just gone through with the heel pain.

“The past three days since the 1500m I was just itching to go, I’m just happy it’s all done now and I’ve been able to get that gold.

“I can come down and actually support the rest of the team and see some of Berlin, I’m so glad I’ve had the victory second but that’s what I’ll leave remembering, it’s a real mental thing.”

One silver and one gold medal is far from a bad haul for Devine, though there are bigger fish to fry for a runner who already has two Paralympic medals to his name.

Both of those came in 2012 but after missing out on four years of competition due to injury, he is hungrier than ever to be at the next Games at Tokyo 2020.

By then he will be 28 and set for his peak years, delighted with the performances he is already putting in on the track as well as the end results.

“My coach told me I’m in really good 5km shape so he said to go out and control it for 4km and go from there,” added Devine, who has a visual impairment.

“A couple of athletes went past me a couple of times but it didn’t bother me. I paced it right and had enough to pick it up at the end.

“When I had my problems with my achilles and I was trying to be careful coming back, I was doing a lot more slower mileage but that is when I realised I was a lot better at the longer stuff.

“I was a bit disappointed after the 1500m on Monday but this has put a smile on my face and made me feel a lot better.

“The next two years has always been the big picture, it’s a stepping stone and I’ve now got a load of confidence heading into the winter with the World Championships coming up next year.”

British Athletics works alongside UK Sport and the National Lottery to support the delivery of success at the world’s most significant sporting events, principally the Olympic and Paralympic Games. They do this via the funded initiative, the World Class Programme, one part of the British Athletics pathway.

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