Good as gold! Sophie smashes world record

After near-miss at Rio 2016, it’s Olympic Stadium joy for 20-year-old at World Para-Athletics ­Champ­­ionships

Thursday, 20th July 2017 — By Steve Barnett

Sophie Kamlish

Sophie Kamlish celebrating gold this week

FORMER Fleet Primary School pupil Sophie Kamlish struck gold at the World Para-Athletics ­Champ­­ionships on Monday – smashing a world record in the process.

The smiley 20-year-old single amputee, who grew up in Gospel Oak, zoomed past defending champion and race favourite Marlou van Rhijn to win the T44 100m in 12.92 seconds.

The day of glory at the Olympic Stadium had earlier started in impressive fashion as she beat her own world record when she clocked 12.90 secs during the heats.

After a final delayed by a false start, Sophie went on to win Great Britain’s 11th gold medal of the competition.

“I really wanted a medal. I knew I’d be disappointed if it wasn’t gold,” she said after the race.

Sophie with sister Sasha, 17, dad Steve and mum Roz

“The false start shakes everyone up. I was a bit pleased because it felt like my first start wasn’t great.

“I beat Marlou van Rhijn in the Manchester City Games in May and now I’ve done it on a much bigger scale. I’m so happy that I can finally change my twitter bio to say world champion!”

Sophie captured the international title that she has been striving for in spectacular style, shaking off the disappointment of the Rio 2016 Paralympics where she broke the world record in the heats but finished fourth in the final – missing out on a bronze medal by just 0.06 of a second.

Dad Steve, who went to Haverstock School in Chalk Farm, revealed that he raced to give Sophie a big hug seconds after she sailed over the line.

“There was 20 of us, friends and family, in the crowd near the finishing line cheering and screaming her on,” he said.

Sophie on the sands in Wales aged 11

“None of us could remember who came second or third – all we saw was Sophie way out in front,” he said.

“It was fantastic. Afterwards, I raced trackside and gave her a big hug. We are all so proud of her.”

Sophie, who is currently studying illustration and animation at Kingston University, moved to Bath with her family soon after leaving Fleet Primary School in South End Green. She still has grandparents in Camden Town and Hampstead.

She was just nine when she was told by a surgeon at Great Ormond Street Hospital that she would need to have her right leg amputated.

“She was born with a deformed right leg, and as she got older the difference in length between her two legs became more pronounced and she had difficulty walking,” Steve said. “She was in a wheelchair for a year before having her right leg amputated below the knee.

“But she was a prankster. She used to say ‘I was bitten by a shark’ to new people in her class at school. Whether they believed her or not was another matter.”

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