Paralympics 2020: Day two round-up as Scots duo among clutch of GB medal winners

Aileen McGlynn and Finlay Graham stand poles apart as tales of Paralympic triumph – but prevail they did with both Scots taking track cycling silver medals.

Silver medalist Finlay Graham celebrates on the podium during the medal ceremony for the Track Cycling Men's C3 3000m Individual Pursuit final on day 2 of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games (Photo by Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images)

48-year-old McGlynn was plucked from virtual velodrome retirement to the Paralympic podium in three mad months, taking a remarkable tandem silver in Tokyo.

The Paisley rider could gaze wistfully at two golds, won at Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008, and silver at London 2012 but never thought she’d make a fourth Games at the age of 48.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

That was before Sophie Thornhill retired, leaving a vacant spot alongside Helen Scott on the British team for Tokyo that the Scot filled at a few weeks’ notice.

Scotland's Aileen McGlynn, right, and pilot Helen Scott, claimed silver for Team GB in the track cycling Women's B 1000m time trial. (Photo by Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images)

"I didn't formally retire but I stopped training, I wasn't doing weights or anything," said McGlynn, who is visually impaired.

"I never thought I'd go to another Paralympics. Then I got approached and it was like, 'right, you've got a testing day in four weeks, get on Zwift and crack on."

So 12 weeks before the Paralympics opened McGlynn and sighted pilot Scott, with whom she medalled in 2012, got the band back together for a whirlwind reunion.

They won Britain’s seventh medal of the Games and fourth in the velodrome with a massive personal best of 1:06.743, more than two seconds quicker than they'd ever gone before.

Maisie Summers-Newton on the way to winning gold in the Women's 200m Individual Medley - SM6 final. (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images for International Paralympic Committee)

It seems a bond is lifelong when you've shared a bike and hared around a velodrome to two Paralympic medals together.

McGlynn said: “Helen and I have got on so well, we've really bonded despite the restrictions of COVID.

"We've worked together so hard, each day, given every training session total focus and made the most of every time we're on the tandem. It's been perfect.”

McGlynn and Graham could hardly be more different, conjoined only by nationality and the influence of Chris Hoy, who inspired McGlynn to pursue the sport with Commonwealth gold in 2002, while Graham’s Paralympic flame was lit riding in the velodrome bearing Hoy’s name in Glasgow’s East End.

Lee Pearson of Great Britain competes with his horse Breezer in the Dressage Individual Test Grade II en route to winning gold. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis / Getty Images)

Strathpeffer’s Graham broke the C3 3000m individual pursuit world record in his first Paralympic race, saw it broken 20 minutes later and emerged with a silver medal.

The 26-year-old tyro rode 3:19.780 in the qualifying round to break the longest-standing world record in track cycling, set in 2014, by an amazing margin of nearly seven seconds.

His thunder was stolen when the record went again minutes later - at least it was broken by a team-mate of Graham’s in Jaco Van Gass, who clocked 3:17.593.

“It means everything,” said Graham. “Even if it was only for a short time, it’s so nice to say that I’ve broken the world record at the Paralympics. It stood for so long.

“The extra year has given me the time to prepare to do that. If the Games was last year, I wouldn’t have been in a good position to do that.”

The pair faced off in the final, with Van Gass taking victory by a narrow margin of 1.13 seconds in a winning time of 3:20.987.

“I wouldn’t want to lose to anyone else,” said Graham.

“It’s great to share the podium with Jaco - we’ve been basically living together for the last two months and training with him is amazing.”

Elsewhere, Ayr’s Robyn Love and Jude Hamer suffered further disappointment after a frustrating 54-48 loss to Japan made it back-to-back women’s wheelchair basketball defeats.

Even a strong fourth quarter couldn’t stop their side slipping to a second loss in as many days in Group A, with Japan opening up a 12-point advantage by the end of the third.

“I think after two losses, the team is really feeling that sad ache in our hearts,” said co-captain Maddie Thompson, whose side are in dire need of a response against Germany tomorrow.

“It really is now about how the co-captains come together to refocus the group.”

ParalympicsGB won another clutch of medals on the second day of action with Maisie Summers-Newton and Tully Kearney winning swimming gold.

Summers-Newton, 19, claimed victory in the SM6 200m individual medley with her idol Ellie Simmonds finishing sixth in the same race.

The teenager watched her world record fall to Ukraine’s Yelyzaveta Mereshko in the heats and revealed a pep talk from hero Simmonds helped her claim top prize.

"When I saw my record go Ellie said straight away - you can get it back and that definitely helped," she said.

"It's pretty cool to beat your idol. She's such an amazing swimmer and she's done so much for para-sport. Having her there is really supportive and comforting in a way, knowing she’s done it for such a long time.

Kearney upgraded 200m silver to 100m gold in a world record time of 1:14.39 for the S5 class.

Meanwhile, Sir Lee Pearson trotted to a 12th Paralympic gold of his storied career in the dressage grade II individual test.

The 47-year-old, who won his first gold medals 21 years ago in Sydney, guided home-bred horse Breezer to a score of 76.265 and an emotional victory.

“I am very, very emotional, I cried in the arena,” he said.

“I have lots of emotions, my family aren’t out here to be with me and to do it on a home-bred horse is amazing."

Sainsbury’s is a proud supporter of ParalympicsGB and a champion of inclusive sport for all. Sainsbury’s commitment to helping customers to eat better has been at the heart of what we do since 1869. For more information on Sainsbury’s visit www.sainsburys.co.uk/ and https://paralympics.org.uk/

Get a year of unlimited access to all The Scotsman's sport coverage without the need for a full subscription. Expert analysis of the biggest games, exclusive interviews, live blogs, transfer news and 70 per cent fewer ads on Scotsman.com - all for less than £1 a week. Subscribe to us today

 0 comments

Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.