Following the spectacular Opening Ceremony of the 2016 Summer Paralympic Games in the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, it was time for Scotland’s athletes and players within the ParalympicsGB team to focus on the competition for medals on day one of the Games.
It wasn’t long before the first Scottish medal of the Games had been secured. Scotland’s Andrew Mullen had travelled to Rio in confident mood following his silver medal in the S5 200m Freestyle at the IPC World Championships in Glasgow in 2015. Andrew qualified for the final of the S5 200m Freestyle in Rio with a time of 2:43.20 in the heats. In the final, Andrew started strongly and didn’t let the early pace of local hero, Daniel Dias, distract him. However, Dias had the race won by the half way mark and the race for silver and bronze was the focus of attention.
In the end, gold went to home favourite Daniel Dias in 2:27.88 with American Roy Perkins second and 19-year-old Mullen third in 2:40.65, a new British record.
After his race Andrew said:
“It’s great to have a won a Paralympic medal and I am really stoked I was able to do so by swimming my best time”.
“What a great crowd to do it in front of. Brazil have put on a great venue and a great Paralympic Games so I am really pleased to get my first medal in such a setting.”
Scotland’s Robyn Love, competing in her first Paralympic Games, was involved in GB Women’s opening Group A wheelchair basketball match against World Champions Canada. In a closely fought encounter, it was the experienced Canadians who came out on top with a 43-36 victory. GB’s next Group fixture will be against Argentina followed by Germany and Brazil.
Football 7 a Side
It was also the opening match in Pool A for Scots Martin Hickman, Jonathan Paterson and David Porcher as part of the GB Football 7 a Side squad. GB had a difficult opening match against hosts Brazil who are currently third in the world rankings. GB were narrowly beaten 2-1 at the Deodoro Stadium in Rio with Livingston’s David Porcher scoring on his GB debut.
Goalscorer Porcher said:
“I think we played a great game. We took the game to Brazil and they were struggling at the end. No medal is won on the first game. So we will go again and take it from there. The boys did brilliantly.”
GB face world ranked number one Ukraine on 10 September before concluding their Group A fixtures against the Republic of Ireland on the 12 September.
Paralympic debutante Sammi Kinghorn from Gordon in the Scottish Borders was also in action in the T53 100m. Sammi is the current European Champion over 100m having won the gold medal in Swansea in 2014. She finished second in her heat in a time of 17.01 to qualify third fastest for the final.
In the final Sammi finished fifth in 17.13 seconds with the gold medal going to China’s Lisha Huang.
“I’m so pleased with all the support I’ve had and I couldn’t do it without them”.
“I’ve only been doing the sport for three and a half years so hopefully one day I’ll have the gold medal around my neck.”
Libby Clegg, competing in her third Paralympic Games, posted a lifetime best 12.17 in her heat to qualify for the semi-final and final of the T11 100m. Libby, who competed in Beijing and London in the T 12 class, was reclassified as a T11 athlete earlier this year due to her deteriorating eye condition.
Libby, who set a world record in the T11 200m at the Anniversary Games earlier this summer and was a silver medallist in the T12 100m at London 2012, was the joint second fastest qualifier to progress.
“It’s great to be here, I’m the first Brit on the track as well so I was a bit unsure what to expect coming through but I know for tomorrow”.
“I wanted to come out here and start strongly and set the team up for some positive performances.”
Congratulation also to former SDS Academy Athlete, Stephen Bate who won a fantastic gold medal in the 4000m individual pursuit in the velodrome. Steve and pilot Adam Duggleby, beat Dutch duo Vincent ter Schure and Timo Franson to the gold in a time of 4:08.631.