Silver lining for Butterfield in Berlin after tough 2018

Butterfield was on top of Europe in Berlin. Pic: Ben Booth Photography

Just being in Berlin was an achievement in itself for Jo Butterfield but the Yorkshire club thrower couldn’t help but strive for more in the World Para Athletics European Championships.

Surgery earlier this year had seen the Doncaster para-athlete all but rule out the rest of her campaign, putting together a programme to get ready for the 2019 World Championships.

But a speedy recovery threw that plan out of the window, instead picking up a silver medal in Berlin in the F51 club throw, two years after becoming Paralympic champion.

Her best effort of 21.53 metres would have been enough to break her own event record set four years ago in Swansea, only for Ukraine’s Zoia Ovssi to sweep in with a world record 24.31m to take the gold.

“It has been a tough year; I had surgery earlier in the year so I am just very happy to be competing here,” said Butterfield, who in 2011 was diagnosed with a spinal tumour which resulted in her being paralysed below the waist.

“I would have liked to have thrown a little further but it is pretty good to be out there.

“I would have preferred the gold to be honest but wouldn’t we all. But getting a medal for the team is a big thing, whatever happened on the day, I was still able to come out here and win a medal.

“It has been a rough year and a lot of rehab, I still have more to come. To take that silver medal is quite special.

“I have a lot of work to do over the winter to get stronger but I looking forward to doing that and coming back fighting in Dubai for the World Championships 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.