Maria Lyle celebrates her T35 100m bronze success (Picture: imagecomms for ParalympicsGB)
Maria Lyle made it double sprint bronze for the second time at the Paralympics in Japan on Sunday – with a strong run in the T35 200m final.
The Team East Lothian athlete had taken third place and a well-deserved bronze in the 100m on Friday when she came up with her best run over the shorter sprint for five years to clock 14.18.
Maria took that form into the 200m final on Sunday lunch-time (our time) and once again made sure of a place on the podium with SB run of 30.24 seconds.
It repeats her feats of Rio five years ago, with a double in the individual T35 sprint events.
Many congratulations to Maria, her family, her coach Jamie Bowie and all the support team with Paralympics GB in Tokyo.
‘I was fine in warm-up but I was so nervous just before the race,’ said Maria.
‘I don’t think I’ve ever felt like that during a race before. I’m so happy that I had the opportunity again to come away with a medal and a season best.
‘I’m proud of how I held myself, focused on what I had to do and won another bronze medal.
‘Winning a medal is never set in stone; you’ve got to work hard for them. I think I’m happier with my 100m races but times don’t really matter for me. No one will remember the time next week but they’ll remember the medal.’
Sammi Kinghorn missed out on the podium by just four hundredths of a second in the T53 800m final.
The Scot clocked 1:47.94 in a thrilling race which saw a new Paralympic Record from gold medallist Madison de Rozario.
‘My 800m wasn’t the main aim for the Paralympics, the 100m and 400m are, so I just wanted to give it a shot,’ said Sammi.
‘I’m fourth in the world, two places better than Rio and three places better than I was at the Worlds in 2019.
‘I am getting faster and faster, and I made a couple of wee technical errors today which is good because I have learned from them.
‘Some of these athletes have a lot of experience so I’m learning a lot so I guess I’ll need to come back in 2024 try again. I’ll get that medal in the 800m one day.
Mel Woods in track action in Tokyo (Photo via imagecomms for Paralympics GB)
Mel Woods is competing at her first Paralympics and she opened up with a fine fifth place finish in the T54 800m.
A PB in the heats saw her qualify for the final and Mel then improved that time by another two seconds to 1:50.40 to set another PB in a commendable effort.
Mel, who is coached by Rodger Harkins, is making a huge impact via a steep learning curve after only coming into the sport recently.
‘To take two seconds off this morning’s time, I couldn’t be happier with that,’ said the former PE teacher from Glasgow.
‘I felt relaxed going into the race tonight as I’d learned a lot from the heats.
‘I’ve been chasing something which I didn’t know I could achieve. I wanted to take that opportunity and have fun with it but it has definitely given me confidence to keep pursuing this.
‘I think it will have been good to show my family and friends what I have been working towards during all this time. So I am really excited for what the future holds.’
Stef Reid unfortunately had to settle for fourth place in the T64 Long Jump final, with her emotions mixed after an excellent 5.75m leap.
That’s the second best of Stef’s career and came as part of her best-ever series – yet she couldn’t replicate podium finishes of 2012 and 2016.
‘Fourth is new to me, it is so hard to describe,’ she said.
‘That is actually the best I have ever jumped, my best series. Coming fourth is kind of bittersweet. But I’m so proud of turning my season around. It was a massive season best for me.
‘There was a stage during this season where I wasn’t sure I would make this team – jumping 5.10s, 5.20s. So I’m really happy to be performing at that level.
‘It’s been a long time since I’ve been at a meet of this calibre. Two women over six metres is huge.’