Scotland’s Libby Clegg landed gold in the T11 100 metres on a day of drama at the Paralympics in Rio. Sprinter Clegg, who is partially sighted and runs blindfolded, experienced a range of emotions as she went from the joy of setting a world record in the semi-final to the crushing low of disqualification to the relief, some two hours later, of reinstatement for her final after a successful appeal.
She then won the final with a dramatic dip on the line.
Clegg and guide Chris Clarke won their T11 100m semi in 11.91 seconds, her first run under 12 seconds, but officials determined that Clark dragged her in the race, contrary to regulations. The British team lodged an appeal, which proved successful, and Clegg was allowed to compete in the late evening final.
Stef Reid, meanwhile, insisted she had no regrets after the Scot claimed the Paralympic silver medal in the long jump behind long-time rival Marie-Amelie Le Fur of France.
The European champion’s best effort of 5.64 metres was over ten centimetres down on her season’s best, meaning she matched her medal from four years ago in the T44 class.
However, Le Fur looked impressive to claim gold in Rio, recording a world record leap of 5.83m.
Le Fur and Reid have swapped world records on a number of occasions.
But the 31-year old was destined to be frustrated in her bid to complete her Paralympic medal set, after winning bronze in the colours of Canada eight years ago in Beijing.
However, Reid should be pleased with her return to top form following the back injury that kept her out of last summer’s World Championships.
“I’m proud of what I did. I’m so pleased for our event, it’s come on leaps and bounds,” said Reid. “Marie jumped further than I’ve ever jumped, so hats off to her, if you jump a world record then you really deserve to win the gold.
“I’m just really pleased at the way our event has gone and I’m really proud of what I laid down. I did jump a big mark and I had a favourable tailwind. I think I did some really great things today in terms of my jumping and I’m just so thankful to my coach and to the team around me who have got me here.”
Meanwhile, four years after he ‘lost it’, Jody Cundy finally ‘won it’ – the para-cyclist claiming gold as his journey to Rio proved a true road to redemption.
Cundy admits he’ll never forgive or forget what happened to him at his home Games, when his X-rated rant at officials, following a faulty start, went viral for all the wrong reasons.
He still thinks that very public meltdown will forever define him but the manner of this win in Brazil – under the most crushing pressure of expectation – may and should just change that.
Cundy already has five Paralympic golds, two as a cyclist and three in swimming, but this one will surely mean the most. In London he raged about wasting four years of his life and he admitted, aged 37, that he probably wouldn’t have been in Rio had that result been different. But this time it was not four years wasted.
Cundy, wearing a prosthetic which had been painted to look like a pirate leg, with a treasure map that drew a line from London to Rio, even set a new Paralympic record, covering 1,000m in just 1.02.473.
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