Paul Blake today joined the ranks of University of Bath-based athletes to be crowned as Paralympic Champion as he won the T36 400m title at Rio 2016 â ParalympicsGBâs 50th gold medal of the Games.
Blake, coached by Rob Ellchuk at the Sports Training Village, upgraded on the silver he won at London 2012 in emphatic style as he stormed away from the field in the last 100m to win in a seasonâs best time of 54.49secs.
It is the first of two potential Rio 2016 Paralympic titles for the 26-year-old, who also runs at 11.23pm BST on Saturday in the T36 800m final â he won gold over that distance at the 2013 and 2015 World Championships, plus bronze at London 2012.
âI am lost for words,â said Blake. âIn 2012 I was fortunate enough to win silver and bronze but I have finally done it and got gold. All of the hard work has paid off.
âI knew we were on 49 golds. Itâs incredible what everyone else has done so far and for me to help out with the tally is great.â
Looking ahead to a potential second title in the 800m, Blake said: âI am just taking each race one at a time. Iâll rest up and weâll see what happens tomorrow.â
Blake is the third athlete to be crowned as Paralympic Champion while training at the University of Bath, joining swimmers Sascha Kindred and Matt Walker who both won gold at the Sydney 2000 Games. Kindred claimed his seventh title in the pool in Rio this week.
Stephen Baddeley, Director of Sport at the University of Bath, said: âWhat an outstanding achievement by Paul, we are all incredibly proud of him.
âDuring the seven years he has spent working with Rob Ellchuk here at the Sports Training Village, Paul has developed into a truly world-class performer and fully deserves this title of Paralympic Champion.
âHe is already an inspiration to students, staff and his fellow athletes at the University thanks to his positive attitude, the dedicated way he approaches his sport and his achievements on the world stage. Weâre all looking forward to seeing Paul return to the University with his gold medal!â
Sophie Kamlish, Blakeâs training partner, will also be looking to get onto the podium when she runs in the T43/T44 100m on Saturday. The heats are scheduled to start at 4.24pm BST, with the final taking place at 12.34am on Sunday.
Also hoping to pick up a medal on Saturday is University of Bath Natural Sciences graduate Alexandra Rickham.
She and partner Niki Birrell currently sit in the bronze-medal position in the SKUD18 two-person keelboat class but level on points with second-placed John McRoberts and Jackie Gay of Canada.
Rickham and Birrell have three more races to go, two on Friday before the double-points medal race at 5.05pm on Saturday.
Report courtesy of Team Bath Press Office at Matchtight Ltd