Pictures: imagecomms for ParalympicsGB
There was a medal rush for the Scots in Tokyo on Thursday and Friday, as Owen Miller stormed his way to Gold in the T20 1500m, Libby Clegg retired in style with a silver in the 4x100m Universal Relay, and Sammi Kinghorn took silver in the T53 400m.
For Paralympic debutant Owen, it was a sprint finish – with a smile on his face – to overtake World and European champion and race favourite, Alexandr Rabotnitskii, and secure the win in 3:54.57.
We offer our heartfelt congratulations to Fife AC athlete Owen, his coach Steve Doig – to take gold at a first Paralympics is an incredible achievement.
OWEN MILLER! Remember the name! 🥇
— C4 Paralympics (@C4Paralympics) September 3, 2021
He said after the race: “It feels really good to be Paralympic champion. Sport is a huge part of my life so I am so proud to have won a gold medal. I want to thank everyone back home for their support. They’ve all been watching me at home and that has really helped me to perform well.
“I just knew I could do it so I gave it all I could, I just tried my best. I went for it with 200m to go, I felt really good. I have been really nervous leading into this race but this gives me a lot of motivation for future races and Championships.”
It was always going to be a big day for Libby Clegg as she stepped out in the final race of her Paralympic career, the 4x100m Universal Relay. And she said farewell in style, with a run that earned her first a bronze, and then silver after a disqualification for the Chinese team.
“This is my proudest ever Olympic moment,” she said after the race, alongside guide Chris Clarke and team mates Jonnie Peacock, Ali Smith and Nathan Maguire.
The race followed her run in the T11 200m heats of 27.93 – not quite enough to progress to the semi-finals in that event.
She added: “To finish my career in the Paralympic stadium in Tokyo is amazing. I wasn’t even sure I was going to be here so I’m happy. It has been such an honour to be on such a successful team. There are some incredible young athletes coming through on the Futures programme who are just starting their journey so I’m happy to see them developing out here.”
There was a stunning second Paralympic medal for wheelchair racer Sammi Kinghorn, as she took silver in the T53 400m, just 24 hours after earning her first, a bronze in the 100m.
In rainy conditions, it was a superb performance for Sammi and coach Rodger Harkins. She said: “I genuinely thought it was bronze when I crossed the line so I am so, so happy. My arms are so sore that I was happy with third then when they said second it was mad and I am elated.
“It has been an incredible experience. Even for a pandemic Games I have felt so supported. In the holding camp in Yokohama the volunteers were out every day clapping us and, out here, it has felt like a normal stadium because we are getting cheered right from the call room all the way through to here. Although friends and family aren’t here I have felt so welcome.”
Jo Butterfield (pictured) was in action in the F51 Seated Club Throw, taking 4th place with a Season’s Best of 21.77. It was a tough contest that saw a new Paralympic Record of 25.12 thrown by Ukranian Zoia Ovsii. While we know that 4th is always a difficult spot to finish, we offer congratulations to Jo and her coaches Phil Peat and Shona Malcolm for a superb competition.
Ben Rowlings was on the track in the T34 800m with 1:48.21 in his heat for 4th place.
That was enough to send him successfully through to the final, which will fall in the early hours of Saturday morning UK time – congratulations to Ben.
For Mel Woods (below), there was a 59.11 push in the T54 400m heats, not enough for the next round, but she’s had a superb first Games and we know there’s so much more to come as she develops in the sport she entered just two years ago.
She said: “”In this moment I need to remind myself that three years ago I was moving back home with my parents with my life stripped away from me, so to be at a Paralympics, I couldn’t ask for more than that could I?
“The Tokyo experience has given me confidence. I want to be back at a Paralympic Games in three years’ time. I think I need to give myself the belief that if I keep working hard that I can be up competing alongside these athletes in Paris.”