Day seven of the Summer Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro saw Scottish athletes and players competing in no fewer than eight sports.
Following medal success on the track, attention now turned to the road racing for Scotland’s cyclists. Karen Darke from Inverness was first to compete in the Women’s H1-2-3 Time Trial event at Pontal winning her first Paralympic gold medal after storming to an emphatic victory.
Karen made her ParalympicsGB debut at London 2012 winning silver. Her winning time of 33:44.93 was more than 12 seconds ahead of USA’s Alicia Dana in silver.
Karen, who will also compete in the H2-4 road race later this week, said:
“The pressure was on. Everything that could have gone wrong before did go wrong”.
“But I got myself in a really good place this week and on the start line today I felt confident”.
“I felt my ride was going really badly. My power just wasn’t there and my chain fell off, meaning I lost a few seconds so I thought that was it”.
“I just had to stop, put the chain back on and dig in, but I didn’t think it was going very well”.
“But in the last turns, I could see I was slightly ahead. I’ve been so close on so many occasions, but this time I did it”.
“The Paralympic gold medal is the top of the arrow and there have been some amazing people helping me”.
“There are so many organisations and people and I really felt the force of them today, I’m so lucky to have had so many people supporting me.”
Glasgow’s Hannah Dines was also in action today, competing in the Women’s T1-2Time Trial. It was a great experience for the Paralympic debutant finishing the T1-2 competition in 5th place.
The final Scot competing on the road today was Craig MacLean from Grantown-on-Spey who was pilot for James Ball in the Men’s Tandem B Time Trial at Pontal. Unfortunately, the pair finished to complete the Time Trial event.
However, this event was won by former SDS Academy athlete, Steve Bate who clinched his second gold medal of Rio 2016 after he and pilot Adam Duggleby took the gold medal at Pontal.
It was also a busy swimming programme today at the Olympic Aquatics Centre. Scott Quin was in action in the heats and final of the SB14 Men’s 100m Breaststroke. Scott laid down a marker of intent ahead of the final by setting a new Paralympic record in his heat. Edinburgh’s Quin, appearing at his first Paralympic Games, clocked 1:06.65. The 26-year-old European champion was the fastest overall qualifier, followed by teammate and fellow Paralympics debutant Aaron Moores in 1:07.25.
In a tight 100m breaststroke SB14 final it was to be a silver medal foe Scott, who was edged out by team mate Aaron Moores in 1:06.67 with Scott just three hundredths of a second slower.
After the race Scott said:
“That was some race. All this season Aaron and I have been pushing each other on. To be standing in that call room and to race with Aaron was an honour.”
Inspired by the double gold medal success of his sister, Libby, Stephen Clegg was determined to succeed in his S12 Men’s 100m Backstroke final. Stephen progressed to the final after posting the fifth fastest time overall of 1:03.11. In the final, Stephen finished 5th in 1:02.06 with Ukraine’s Sergii Klippert taking gold.
Speaking after his heat, Stephen said:
“I think I’ve got a lot more for tonight. I had a good strong 50m and then backed off a little bit tonight which is not what I normally do.
“Libby and I are spending quite a lot of time together in the village, we go for lunch together.
“I had a bit of a rough start with my 400m at the start of the week but she talked me through it and managed to calm me down. I watched her race last night and I’m really pleased for her.”
Abby Kane from Largs was also back in the pool for the heat of the S13 Women’s 50m Freestyle. ParalympicsGB’s youngest athlete in Rio, finished sixth in a time of 29.98.
At the Olympic Stadium, Dunbar’s Maria Lyle, opened her Paralympic career in the women’s T35 100m final. Maria burst out of the blocks superbly before eventually crossing the line third in 14.41. Gold went to China’s Zhou Xia in a new Paralympic record of 13.66 while Australia’s Isis Holt took silver in 13.75.
Maria, who is also set to compete in the T35 200m and T35-384x100m relay later in the week, said:
“It’s not really sunk it. It wasn’t my best race and the time wasn’t very good but I got a medal and not everyone gets a medal so I’ve got to be happy with that”.
“It’s a bit weird to be here at a Paralympic Games, I’ve enjoyed myself and that’s the main thing. Athletics helps to give me a sense of a purpose”.
“My mum is a great support, she takes me to training. I couldn’t have done anything without her.”
Following her fantastic gold medal in the F51 Club Throw earlier in the week, Glasgow’s Jo Butterfield was back in action for the final of the Women’s F52 Discus. It wasn’t to be for Jo on this occasion despite a season’s best throw of 9.40 with the gold medal going to Rachael Morrison of the USA.
Scotland’s Gordon Reid was back in action at the Olympic Tennis Centre for his semi-final tie against France’s Stephane Houdet. Gordon had progressed to the final following a 2-6, 7-6, 6-1 quarter final defeat of to set up a semi-final tie against Gustavo Fernandez from Argentina. The Wimbledon champion beat top seed Houdet 7-5, 6-2 to progress to the final where he will face his doubles partner Alfie Hewitt. Gordon, who won his maiden Grand Slam singles title in Australia earlier this year, admits his confidence is surging after a week to remember in Rio.
“Stephane is the world number one and has been a top player for a long time but winning the Australian Open and Wimbledon this year has given me so much confidence”.
“I can’t wait to get back out on court for the final in the singles and the doubles. The rest of the ParalympicsGB team have been smashing it so far so to contribute two medals to the GB tally is a fantastic feeling”.
“We never would’ve dreamt of an all British final, it’ll be incredible. Alfie is playing amazing tennis.”
Gordon and Alfie Hewett face Stephane Houdet and Nicolas Peifer of France in the men’s doubles final tomorrow.
The GB Wheelchair Rugby Team, including Glasgow’s Michael Kerr, opened their campaign with a massive match against Australia. GB suffered a narrow defeat at the hands of reigning world and Paralympic champions as they fell to a 53-51 defeat. It was an end-to-end game, but it was tournament favourites Australia who succeeded, never once letting their lead slip after first going ahead through Andrew Harrison in the opening minute.
The 2015 European champions will look for a change in fortunes in their next pool game against top seeds Canada who defeated Brazil 62-48 in their opening match.
7 a Side Football
Martin Hickman, Jonathan Paterson and David Porcher were members of the GB seven-a-side football team, who played Argentina in the play off for 5th/6th place at the Deodoro Stadium. The GB team finished their Rio 2016 campaign in style with a dominant 2-0 victory over Argentina to secure 5th place. The result ensured an improvement on GB’s 7th place finish in London four years ago, with hosts Brazil and Ukraine the two teams to beat them in Rio following narrow 2-1 wins.
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 a Pool A match in the BC3 competition with a tie against Ho Won Jeong from South Korea. This proved to be a stern test for Scott who lost out to the South Korean 7-1.
Following an opening victory over Mario Peixoto from Portugal, Patrick Wilson was up against Kazuki Takahashi in this BC3 Pool G match. This was an epic encounter with the two trading blows throughout but it was Patrick who emerged victorious 5-3.
BC4 Individual World Champion, Stephen McGuire had a busy programme today with ties against Wai Yan Lau from Hong Kong and Dirceu Pinto from Brazil in BC4 Pool B. In a tight match against the Hong Kong player, Stephen emerged as the winner by 5-4 before losing to the Brazilian 6-2.
Fife’s, Kieran Steer faced BC4 Pool C encounters with Pornchok Larpyen from Thailand and Samuel Andrejcik from Slovakia. Unfortunately, Kieran lost both encounters, 5-0 to Larpyn and 9-3 to Andrejcik.
Patrick Wilson and Stephen McGuire will both progress to the quarter-final matches tomorrow.
Polbeth’s Natan McQueen was back in action at Sambadromo in the Men’s Individual Compound – Open competition 1/16 Elimination. It was a good morning for Nathan who defeated Shaun Anderson of South Africa 144- 129 to progress to the 1/8 round. Unfortunately, Nathan didn’t progress further in the competition after a narrow 138-133 defeat to Andre Shelby of the USA.
Nathan, a silver medallist at this year’s European Championships, added:
”My experience at the Games has been awesome – and quite emotional. Archery has always been my first love and I couldn’t even pull a bow back two years ago, so to go from that to competing at the Paralympic Games is fantastic.”
With the addition of the three medals won today, the Scottish Medal Tally within the ParalympicsGB team stands at four gold, four silver and two bronze.