Day six of the Summer Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro brought further success on the track for Scotland’s top sprinter with a visual impairment.
Libby Clegg had qualified comfortably for the final of the T11 200m with a win in a time of 25.24 in the previous day’s semi-final as the fourth fastest qualifier. In the final, Libby powered to victory and an impressive sprint double in a race that she dominated with her guide Chris Clarke. Their task had been made easier by the absence of home favourite Terezinha Guilhermina, who was disqualified after a false start. In addition, her winning time of 24.51 seconds also erased Guilhermina’s Paralympic Games record from London 2012.
Libby’s gold was ParalympicsGB’s 11th in the track and field campaign, equalling their total from London 2012.
Following her race Libby said:
“I’ve massively surprised myself. I’ve had a really tough year and if you’d ask me ten months ago, I’d have said this wasn’t possible”.
“When I moved into this classification I was pretty daunted and nervous but Chris has been amazing. He’s an incredible guide and has really helped me get through this”.
“We’ve got the World Championships next year and I can’t wait to get back into that stadium in London and race in front of my home crowd again.”
Gordon Reid had qualified for the quarter-final of the wheelchair tennis men’s singles competition following a 6-0, 6-2 defeat of France’s Frederic Cattaneo. Gordon was now drawn against Gustavo Fernandez from Argentina for a spot in the semi-final. The Wimbledon and Australian Open singles champion from Alexandria didn’t let the pressure get to him and beat Fernandez, the fifth seed, 2-6, 7-6, 6-1 to set up a semi-final tie against France’s Stephane Houdet.
Gordon and partner Alfie Hewett faced Japan’s Shingo Kunieda and Satoshi Saida in the men’s doubles semi-final after beating Daniel Caverzaschi and Martin de la Puente from Spain 6-2, 6-0 in the quarter-finals. The doubles second seeds beat the Japanese, the sixth seeds, 6-2, 6-4 in one hour and 27 minutes. The GB pair will now face Stephane Houdet and Nicolas Peifer of France in the final following their 6-2, 7-5 victory over Japan’s Takuya Miki and Takashi Sanada.
“We’ve been playing together about two years now and all the hard work has paid off this week. We didn’t actually expect to play the Japanese in this match as they upset the French pair in the quarters but we changed our tactics and it doesn’t matter who we are playing, we know our game can beat anyone.”
Following the disappointment of narrowly missing out on the medals in the pair’s and teams competitions, it was back to business for GB’s Boccia players with the preliminary group matches in the individual competition.
In Pool C of the BC2 competition, Perth’s Josh Rowe had been dealt a tough opening fixture against Worawut Saegampa from Thailand. Josh opened with a 10-0 defeat to Saengampa before following that with a 7-2 defeat to Portugal’s Cristina Goncalves.
The BC3 individual competition also got underway today and Dundonald’s Jamie McCowan came up against Grigorios Polychronidis from Greece in his opening match. This proved to be a tough encounter for Jamie who struggled to match the play of his opponent, losing the tie 9-1. Later in the day, Jamie was to face Australia’s Daniel Michel in his second Pool C match and despite putting up a spirited fight lost out 3-2.
Scott McCowan was also in action with his opening Pool A match in the BC3 competition with a tie against Nurulasyiqah Mohammad Taha from Singapore. It was to be a nervous encounter for Scott who lost two shot in the opening end but rallied to close out the match 3-2.
Patrick Wilson had been drawn a tricky opening Group G match against Mario Peixoto from Portugal. Patrick from Cardrona, controlled the tie from the outset and ran out the winner by 4-2.
Scotland’s BC4 players in the GB team, who narrowly missed out on a medal in the pair’s competition in Rio were also back in action today. BC4 Individual World Champion, Stephen McGuire had drawn Pedro Clara from Portugal in his opening fixture in Pool B. Stephen opened his individual bid with a 4-3 victory fighting back from being three down.
“It was a very tough match. Pedro has been around the same amount of time I have. They’re always close games. We’re good friends off the court but it’s different on the court”.
“It was very tough, he took a 3-0 lead. I just maximised the opportunity I could and in the last end just tried to take court position. Luckily I did, and it was literally millimeters in it. I may have looked calm, we’ve been working a lot on court presence.”
Fife’s, Kieran Steer faced a difficult opening Pool C match against Brazil’s, Eliseu Dos Santos. Kieran from Dunfermline, lost 10-0 to the Brazillian, a silver medallist in the mixed pairs.
Ayr’s Robyn Love is part of the GB women’s wheelchair basketball team who are now guaranteed their best ever result at a Paralympic Games after reaching the semi-finals in Rio. After finishing second in the pool stages, the women took on China in the quarter-final at the Rio Olympic Arena, with a match against either USA or Brazil in the semi-finals up for grabs.
They duly delivered, outscoring their opponents in every quarter apart from the last to record a 57-38 victory. Robyn contributed seven points to the GB win that will ensure they will contest a Paralympic medal match for the first time ever. GB will now face the USA in the semi-final after their emphatic 66-35 victory over Brasil.
Libby Clegg’s T11 200m gold medal win in the Olympic Stadium now means that the Scottish Medal Tally within the ParalympicsGB team stands at three gold, three silver and one bronze.