Norway’s visually-impaired T12 Para-sprint world record holder Salum Kashafali finished fourth here today in the men’s 100 metres final, contributing eight points to the home cause as the hosts filled third place going into tomorrow’s finale of the European Athletics Team Championships First League.
And he revealed that he has been invited to run in a Para-athletics race at the next International Association of Athletics Federations Diamond League meeting in Birmingham on August 18.
The 25-year-old refugee from the Congo, who has set successive T12 world records of 10.58 and 10.45sec after being classified as a para-athlete earlier this year because of a degenerative eye disease, had managed to earn the eighth and last qualifying place in today’s men’s final despite dipping to early after mistaking the finishing line.
There were no such problems today as he completed a smoother race in blustery but - temporarily - dry conditions in 10.80sec, into a headwind of 2.8 metres per second.
The race produced Portugal’s only win of the day, with Carlos Nascimento clocking 10.64 after Turkey’s Emre Zafer Barnes, fastest in the field with a best of 10.08, was disqualified for a false start.
"I really felt the support of the crowd when I ran," Kashafali, who finished off the programme in pouring rain by anchoring Norway in the 4x100m B final, said.
"I give myself a score of B-plus.
"I was so excited today, because this is about the team and not me. So now I am relieved!
"I didn’t have the same problem today.
"But I didn’t like it when the Turkish guy next to me was disqualified.
"I had to be very careful then, because it was very important to get points.
"So I just waited and reacted when the runner on my other side got away.”
Kashafali clarified his record in terms of times - for although his official Para-athletics record is the 10.45 he ran in Oslo on June 13, his legal personal best is 10.44, which he clocked a week later in Lillehammer.
He added that he had received an invitation the day before to race in a Para-event at Birmingham next weekend.
His selection for the main team, announced here on the eve of competition, meant he matched the rare feat first accomplished by United States middle distance athlete Marla Runyan of competing in a main international competition as a visually-impaired athlete.
Runyan, five times a Paralympic champion, subsequently became the first legally blind athlete to compete in the Olympic Games when she took part in the 1500m at Sydney 2000, finishing eighth in the final.