LIBBY CLEGG claimed the unprecedented successes of the British team can be sustained as the Paralympic Games came to a close in Rio last night with a total of 147 medals leaving the UK second in the overall standings behind China,
Easily exceeding UK Sport’s target of 113, it was 27 more than at London 2012 – and the most since Seoul in 1988 – with the 26-yearold’s double gold on the athletics track headlining a tally of 17 medals claimed by Scots, including three apiece for fellow sprinter Maria Lyle and swimmer Andrew Mullen.
And with Dame Sarah Storey’s 14th Paralympic title in Saturday’s cycling road race now leaving her just two short of swimmer Mike Kenny, the most successful British Paralympian of all-time – plus new and established faces stepping up in Brazil – Clegg believes the bandwagon that started rolling at London 2012 can maintain its momentum.
“The team has gone from strength to strength since London four years ago and I’m sure we will continue this into the next four years and on to Tokyo,” she said. “Both Jo Butterfield and I have won gold medals and Stef Reid and Maria Lyle took silver and bronze in athletics. There is a strong Scottish presence in the Olympic and Paralympic sides across a number of sports and long may that continue. Success inspires people to follow in footsteps and hopefully people will look at us and think, ‘I want to be like them’.”
There were no additions to the medal count on the final day of action of Rio 2016 with Fife-based runner Derek Rae forced to pull out while sitting in fourth place in the marathon and David Weir completing a miserable Games empty-handed when a collision forced his wheelchair off the road to end his hopes of defending his last remaining title. WHEELCHAIR RACING SAMMI KINGHORN said her stint in Rio will help her challenge for the podium at Tokyo 2020, despite returning empty-handed from her debut Paralympics. The Borderer, 20, finished sixth in the T52 800 metres – her third final of the Games – after lowering her own European record by four seconds in the heats. “I’ve enjoyed every race and I’ve learnt so much,” Kinghorn said. “I never thought three-and-a-half years ago I’d be competing in my first Paralympics in such a short time. Tokyo better be ready.” SWIMMING ABBY KANE admitted she’d stunned herself by landing swimming silver at the age of 13 with a sparkling showing in the 100m backstroke S13 final. The visually-impaired schoolgirl, from Ayrshire, whose coach Sharon McIntyre had threatened to quit if she didn’t return from Rio with a medal, saw the Paralympic record she set in the heats get obliterated by Ukrainian gold medallist Anna Stetsenko. But Kane, who has endured two-hour round trips every morning before school to train at Barrhead Pool, underlined she will be one to watch by holding her own and seizing second place.
“I don’t know how I feel, I’m speechless, I’m so happy,” she said. “I never expected to come to Rio at all, so I’m really happy. It’s been amazing.”
Fellow Scot Andrew Mullen took his tally to three medals with a bronze medal in the 100m freestyle S5 to go with the silver and bronze he earned last week as Brazilian favourite Daniel Dias took his personal gold count to 13.