Loughborough athletes in the medals at the Paralympic Games
3 September 2012
It was a super Saturday and Sunday for Loughborough based athletes at the London 2012 Paralympic Games – with four medals won in the track and field events.
Loughborough based athlete Richard Whitehead started the medal rush after coming from behind behind to win the gold in the final of the T42 200m. Richard, a double above-the-knee amputee, crossed the line in 24.38 seconds to break his own world record.
Richard hails from Nottingham and is renowned for his marathon running. However after electing to compete in the sprint events at the Games, Richard has been a regular visitor to the University, training at the High Performance Athletics Centre.
Richard was also a torch bearer on campus, when the Olympic Torch Relay visited the University on 3rd July.
Richard’s success was followed up by Loughborough University student Claire Williams, who won the bronze medal in the women’s discus F11/12.
Claire, who is studying Psychology and is a 2012 Sports Scholar, threw 39.63m to claim third place. It was third time lucky for Claire, after finishing fifth in the Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games.
After the event Claire said:
“I threw as well as I could today and it’s the best I’ve thrown for a while, I’m ecstatic. I have had so many ups and downs since I started, but this has made it all worthwhile – it’s made up for the last 12 years and it makes me want to go to Rio; this medal, this is what it’s for.”
On Sunday Loughborough based athlete Stefanie Reid claimed the silver medal in the F42/44 long jump. Stef, who is coached by Keith Antoine at Loughborough, broke the Paralympic record on two occasions, jumping 5.28 metres.
However Stef missed out on the gold as the competition was covering two classifications, and thus was decided on points and not distance.
Stef also ran in the T44 100m final, finishing in eighth place in a time of 14.25.
Loughborough based athlete Libby Clegg also won a silver medal in the 100m T12 event. Libby, who is trained by Tom Crick, crossed the line with her guide runner Mikail Huggins in a lifetime best and European record time of 12.13.
Speaking after the race Libby said:
“Tonight has been absolutely out of this world. It was amazing. I have never experienced anything like this before. I didn’t expect this to happen, the profile of Paralympic sport has increased so much in the lead up to this and it’s fantastic.”
University student Sam Ruddock finished in fifth place in his heat of the 100m T35 in a time of 13.92. Sam is making his debut in the Paralympic Games after being talent identified less than a year ago, and is also competing in the 200 metres.
Away from the track Loughborough Paralympians have been excelling in other sports during the first four days of the Games.
In the velodrome on day 1 Loughborough University student Crystal Lane finished in fourth place in the women’s C5 Individual Pursuit.
Crystal raced for the bronze medal against Fiona Southorn from New Zealand, but could not overcome her opponent, finishing in a time of 4:02.773.
Crystal, who is studying an MSc in Sports Nutrition, was only selected three weeks ago as a result of an extra slot being allocated to Paralympics GB by the International Paralympic Committee.
After two opening defeats, Great Britain’s women’s wheelchair basketball team have claimed their first victory after beating Brazil 42-37. In the fourth quarter the team scored eight unanswered points to turn a 35-31 deficit into a 39-35 lead.
The team includes current and former students Natasha Davies, Judith Hamer, Clare Strange and Laurie Williams. They are next in action on Monday against Canada.
Loughborough University graduate Hannah Stodel is competing in the three-person keelboat (Sonar) class, along with team mates John Robertson (skipper) and Stephen Thomas. The team are currently in fifth place in the standings after two fifth place finishes in races 3 and 4.
In Wheelchair Tennis Loughborough College student Dave Phillipson has progressed to the last 16 of the men’s singles and doubles competitions after three victories.
However there was disappointment in the pool for University student Emma Hollis who finished in 14th place in the 400m freestyle (S8) in a time of 6:02.84. Emma, who has brittle bones, competed through the pain of a fractured foot.
Current Loughborough College student Aaron McKibbin was defeated in his two group matches in the class 8 table tennis match competition. Aaron will be back in action in the men’s team class 6-8 event.