Loughborough University MSc graduate Crystal Lane powered to a superb cycling silver medal on the opening night of action at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
The Sports Nutrition MSc graduate was competing in the 3000m individual pursuit inside the Rio Velodrome, having only been added to the ParalympicsGB team two weeks ago.
The cyclist made her Paralympic debut at London 2012, but after four years of hard work has made her way onto the podium with a fantastic silver.
Lane was only beaten by teammate Dame Sarah Storey, who with victory becomes Britain’s most successful Paralympian of all time, ahead of Loughborough’s own Tanni Grey-Thompson.
Of her achievement, Lane said: “It’s been a whirlwind but it’s been amazing to be a part of Sarah’s history-making medal ride. I had a dream after London that I would be in Rio and I never let it go. I just kept training hard.
“We’ve been inspired by watching each other train so when we were in the holding camp in Wales, the times were good and everyone knew the times were there and it was a case of doing it on the day so that kept the morale really high.”
Eight further Loughborough linked athletes were in action on the first day of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, competing in athletics and wheelchair basketball.
Kicking off the Loughborough involvement early on the first day of Paralympic competition was Loughborough based Libby Clegg and her guide runner Chris Clarke. Running in the T11 category, Libby suffers from deteriorating eyesight, with her classification altered earlier this year to reflect that.
Running alongside her new guide Chris Clarke in 2016, the double Paralympic silver medallist finished joint first in her 100m heat to qualify for tomorrow’s semi-final.
Post-race Clegg said: “It’s great to be here, I’m the first Brit on the track as well so I was a bit unsure what to expect coming through but I know for tomorrow. I wanted to come out here and start strongly and set the team up for some positive performances.”
Elsewhere in the sprint events, Jonnie Peacock and Sophie Hahn both advanced to their respective 100m finals breaking Paralympic Games records en-route! Peacock was first up, and he clocked 10.81 to win his T44 100m heat and look in great shape ahead of the defence of his Paralympic title on Friday night.
“I’m reasonably happy with the 10.81, it’s my second fastest time of the year so can’t ask for much more than that. It felt relatively easy – I know I’m in great form coming here and that’s what this whole year is about. Look at my results, every month that goes by, the times go down. Tomorrow I hope to go a lot faster than that.”
On what it’s going to take to win the gold medal, he added: “Faster than that – I’d be wouldn’t be surprised if it was sub-10.80 that takes silver or bronze. There are some really fast guys in the field here and it’s a good track and temperature.”
It was a similar story for youngster Sophie Hahn, who won her T38 100m heat in Paralympic record of 12.62 to advance to the final. The double world champion will hope to get her hands on her first Paralympic title on Friday.
Also in action for ParalympicsGB were current student Amy Conroy and graduates Claire Griffiths, Jude Hamer and Laurie Williams. Taking on reigning world champions Canada, the quartet always knew it was going to be a tough first match, and despite a good performance the team were beaten 43-36. There was a big positive for Conroy though as she scored 14 of Britain’s 36 points, showing she’s in good form ahead of the rest of the tournament.
Report courtesy of Loughborough University