By Tom Degun

Richard Whitehead_28-06-121June 27 - Britain's Richard Whitehead has underlined his credentials as a London 2012 gold medal favourite after he smashed his own T42 200 metre world record at the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) European Athletics Championships in Stadskanaal, the Netherlands.

The 35-year-old double leg amputee from Nottingham (pictured above, left), who is the world champion in the event, dominated from the start as he stormed to victory in 24.93sec in the penultimate day of the Championships.

Denmark's Daniel Jorgensen finished a distant second with Iceland's Helgi Sveinsson in third place but the race belonged to the British runner.

"Obviously this past winter has been tough and I've been putting in a lot of hard sessions with my coaches Liz Yelling and Keith Antoine," said Whitehead, who is remarkably a marathon specialist.

"But this was about looking at where I'm at in the training cycle.

"I broke the world record in London and that was the start of the cycle.

"This is the middle of the cycle and the Paralympic Games in September is the end.

"I know I've still got a few gears to move up so it's all really positive, especially working with such a dynamic coaching team who have helped me play to my strengths."

Libby Clegg_28-06-12
Whitehead's was one of three British gold medals on day four of the event as Tracey Hinton and Libby Clegg (pictured above) both claimed their second victories of the event.

Hinton claimed gold in the T11 200m with a time of 27.31, while Clegg come out victorious in the T12 200m with a blistering time of 25.47 which was declared illegal due to a strong following wind.

"We executed that from gun to tape," Clegg said.

"That's given me a lot of confidence in my 200m.

"There are a few new Chinese girls in the class who I've not had the chance to race yet but I now know I can take them on with confidence."

Meanwhile, there were silver medals for Britain for Graeme Ballard in the T36 200m, Bev Jones in the F37 discus and Sophia Warner (pictured below) in the T35 100m while bronze medals were won by Ben Rushgrove, Kyron Duke, Olivia Breen and Katrina Hart.

sophia warner_28-06-1
Elsewhere, Russia continued their dominance of the event, which was underlined in the men's 200m T37 final where they took all three medal.

Gocha Khugaev claimed gold by breaking the European record with a time of 23.54 and Roman Kapranov took silver, while Alexandr Lyashchenko garnered bronze to make it an all-Russian podium.

Russia leads the way at the championships with 24 total golds and 61 overall medals.

Ukraine follows in second with 14 golds and 36 overall medals, while Poland stand in third place with eight golds and 23 overall medals.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related stories
August 2011: Paralympic stars Richard Whitehead and Jordanne Whiley complete line-up of Cadbury Athlete Ambassadors
June 2011: London 2012 gold in the 200 metres is main focus now says marathon man Whitehead
April 2011: Exclusive - Whitehead launches new campaign to be allowed to run marathon at London 2012
February 2011: World champion Whitehead stars in new Powerade advertising campaign
February 2011: Star trio receive support from BP in quest for London 2012 Paralympic glory