Paralympics 2021: Relieved Stephen Clegg won't settle until medal is gold; Maria Lyle lands bronze

Stephen Clegg finally has a Paralympic medal to match sister Libby and brother James – but he won't settle until he has turned it gold.
Stephen Clegg shows off his bronze medal.Stephen Clegg shows off his bronze medal.
Stephen Clegg shows off his bronze medal.

Libby is a four-time athletics medallist at these Games, including a double gold in Rio, while James won swimming bronze in the 100m butterfly at London 2012.

The talented Clegg family's sibling rivalry clearly spurs each other on.

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And after finishing fifth in the S12 100m backstroke in Brazil and fourth at the recent World Championships in London, the 25-year old finally claimed his bronze.

Maria Lyle also took bronze in women's 100m - T35 final.Maria Lyle also took bronze in women's 100m - T35 final.
Maria Lyle also took bronze in women's 100m - T35 final.

"It's such a relief to finally get that medal, I didn't have much expectation but knew there was potential," he said.

"I'm had a few near misses in this event but it's nice to get across that line.

"It was a very small PB too, you can't argue with that, hopefully it's a good sign."

However, bronze is not the medal Clegg came for – with next week's 100m butterfly his major focus, after a silver medal at the World Championships and a world record earlier this year.

"It was just good to go through all the emotions of competing while remembering that all the training, all the planning is geared towards that 100m butterfly," he added.

"The result is great but I need to refocus now and not get too caught up in this. I'm feeling great and can't wait to get out there again."

Clegg credits coach Chris Jones at Edinburgh University with his confidence coming into these Games, even claiming the year delay has benefited his medal hopes.

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"I was quite grateful for it in many years," he added. "I just changed programmes after the worlds in 2019 and totally overhauled the way I trained. My coach has restructured everything and the extra time has really benefited me."

Maria Lyle is running happy and it's clearly making all the difference as she landed a medal in Tokyo.

Five years ago the Scottish sprinter struck T35 100m bronze at the Paralympics in Rio, a feat she repeated in Tokyo in a season's best time.

Same result but very different emotions for the 21-year-old, who admitted a breakdown following the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast had her contemplating ending her athletics career.

Instead, she worked with Jamie Bowie, her coach at East Lothian, and a specialist sports counsellor to overcame big race anxiety, brought on she claims by a fixation on times and performances.

"I was terrified of running, terrified of looking at my times and constantly comparing myself to others – now I'm just enjoying my sport again like I did when I started," she said.

China's Zhou Xia took a gold with a world record 13.00 seconds while Australia's Isis Holt claimed silver. European and world champion Lyle's time was 14.18s – and Lyle had no complaints.

"This has been five years of really hard work," she added.

"The last 18 months have been so hard trying to understand if the Paralympics were even going to happen.

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“I tried to take each day as it came and Covid made me realise I just need to enjoy training and competing."

"That's feels so good, I'm so happy with a bronze medal. I didn't know what to expect but I knew I was in good shape, a season's best and a medal is more than I can ask for.

"I've tried not to think about this race until today and I just wanted to enjoy it."

Elsewhere, Scottish wheelchair basketball players Robyn Love and Jude Hamer suffered another bruising defeat as the British women's team lost 53-35 to Germany.

It's a third consecutive loss and leaves them looking at a must-win match with fellow winless side Australia to secure a top four place in the five-strong group.

Five Scottish boccia brothers Jamie and Scott McCowan will start their Paralympic campaign – and they are drawn to face each other in their opening pool game.

Jamie, 26, and Scott, 30, spent lockdown battling in their parents front room in Dundonald while shielding during the pandemic.

Scott won mammoth 'Lockdown Championship' – and will be looking for more success today, with parents Linda and Gary acting as their sons' ramp assistants.

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