Day four of the Summer Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro brought a second gold medal for the Scots on the ParlympicsGB team.
In 2014 Glasgow’s Jo Butterfield set a European record in the club throw while winning the event at the 2014 IPC Athletics European Championships. The following year she added the World title at the 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships in Qatar, securing her place at the 2016 Paralympic Games.
It didn’t take Jo long to wrap up the Paralympic gold medal with a dominant display of throwing. Her first throw of 22.60 set a new Paralympic record and was swiftly followed by a massive throw of 22.81 to break her own world record.
“The last three throws were a little bit emotional, It’s just unbelievable, it’s what I’ve worked for and it feels so good to have done it”.
“Five years ago my life changed completely in a moment and sport has given me a massive boost and a reason to carry on.”
Sammi Kinghorn qualified for the final of the T53 400m courtesy of her 56.76 seconds fourth place finish in her heat. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be for Sammi who finished sixth in her first Paralympics final before being disqualified for an infringement. The race was won by Zhou Hongzhuan of China in a world record time of 54.43secs, USA’s Chelsea McClammer took silver and Australia’s Angela Ballard bronze.
“I’m not frustrated. I need to chill out and enjoy the whole experience. My mum and dad had everyone chanting my name. I’m still young, I’ve got a lot more to give.”
Neil Fachie travelled to Rio as the reigning Tandem B Time Trial Paralympic champion following his gold medal at London 2012 and had high hopes of regaining his title in Rio.
But it wasn’t to be for Aberdeen’s Fachie, who won silver in the men’s B 1000m time trial alongside pilot Pete Mitchell. The British duo flew out of the starting gate but could not quite beat the sensational Paralympic record time of 59.822 set by Tristan Bangma and pilot Teun Mulder of the Netherlands and instead sped to silver in a time of 1:00.241.
Also competing in the men’s B 1000m time trial was pilot Craig MacLean and newcomer James Ball who had set the pace as the first British tandem to take to the track and finished in a very creditable fifth place.
Paratriathlon is making its Paralympic debut in Rio and there were high hope of Scottish success in the PT5 event with Dunfermline’s Alison Patrick and guide Hazel Smith from Edinburgh.
The race was always close and Patrick and Smith were in silver medal position after the cycle stage. Often the strongest runner in the field, Patrick said she struggled with the intense heat on the hottest day of the Games so far. The pair claimed silver in the women’s PT5 race with a time of 1:13:20 with Australia’s Katie Kelly dominating to win gold, crossing the line over minute ahead of her nearest rivals.
“We hadn’t seen them [the Australians] race all season so we didn’t know where they were at, but they were very strong. We felt the heat massively today on the run, which is normally my strength and where I’d usually make up any time that I’d lost on anyone, but it was just so tough today.”
Following Gordon Reid’s Wimbledon and Australian Open titles earlier this year there was real hope of medals in the wheelchair tennis competition at Rio. Gordon entered the men’s singles competition as third seed at the second round and faced Dan Wallin from Sweden. Gordon was on top form in this match to dispatch the Swede 6-1, 6-2.
Gordon was back on court later in the day with Alfie Hewitt for a men’s doubles second round tie against Ho Won Im and Ha Gel Lee from South Korea. It proved to be a one sided encounter with the GB pair winning 6-1, 6-2.
“It feels like such a long time that I’ve been waiting to get started out here at Rio 2016 and I’ve been watching all my teammates play the past few days just itching to get on court.
“I’ve proved how I can really perform on the big stage and I thrive on large stadiums and crowds as I want to show off our sport and let people see how fantastic wheelchair tennis is”.
“I was lucky to have amazing backing at Wimbledon when I won the inaugural title there and I’ve got about 20 friends and family out here all dressed in Team Reid items and chanting. I don’t find it distracting at all, it just spurs me on.”
Following yesterday’s 50-45 win over reigning Paralympic champions Germany in the Rio Olympic Arena the GB women’s team faced a final Group A match against hosts Brazil. GB secured their place in the knockout stages as head coach Miles Thompson’s team took control and silenced the home crowd to secure a 32-63 victory.
GB were back in action in the pairs and team Boccia competitions with Scots Stephen McGuire and Kieran Steer, along with Evie Edwards, competing in the BC4 Pairs semi-final against hosts Brazil after they drew 2-2 with Hong Kong to top the pool. It proved to be a lively atmosphere but in the end it was the home favourites who emerged victorious 4-2 to progress into the gold medal match.
It means GB must now turn their attention to facing Thailand on 12 September in their quest to better the fourth place finish achieved at London 2012.
“Brazil have always played that sort of game, they’re very strong in that area. We tried to play to our strengths but we didn’t quite execute in the right areas”.
“They have home advantage, saying that we could have played a bit better. We are disappointed but we’ve still got a bronze medal to go for and we want to win it.”
Elsewhere, GB and Perth’s Joshua Rowe, saw their BC1-2 Team campaign ended at the quarter-final stage after an 11-0 defeat to Thailand.
The BC3 Pairs team of Scott McCowan, Patrick Wilson and Jamie McCowan won their final pool game against Singapore 3-1 but it was not enough to progress and they will now turn their attention to the individual event.
“We played well, we got that win and that gives us confidence going into the individuals”.
“We’re all great players still and we’ve got a chance of going far in the next competition. We’ve just got to take than on going forwards.”
The three medals won today bring Scotland’s medal haul within the ParalympicsGB team to 2 gold, 3 silver and 1 bronze.