Borderer Stephen Clegg adds Tokyo 2020 Paralympics silver medal to his two bronzes but vows to go for gold next time round
Newcastleton swimmer Stephen Clegg today, September 3, missed out on a Tokyo 2020 Paralympics gold medal by a fraction of a second.
Having to settle for silver, to add to the two bronzes he’s already won in Japan, has only added to the 25-year-old’s resolve to go for gold at France’s Paralympics in three years’ time, however.
The Borderer’s time of 57.87 was only 0.06 seconds behind winner Raman Salei in the men’s S12 100m butterfly final in Tokyo this morning, the Azerbaijan athlete’s time being 57.81.
Following that close-run race, Clegg told a Channel 4 interviewer: “I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was disappointed. I came here to win and I’m quite far short from where I wanted to be really.
“I can’t really make any excuses. The prep coming into the meeting was really good.
“I can’t take anything away from Raman. It was an amazing race and he just held on better than me.
“It’s a bit heartbreaking, but I know I’m capable of much faster, and if I was anywhere close to my best, it would have been a gold, but it’s whoever’s best on the day, and he was better than me. I can’t really say much else.
“I was quite far out on my turn. I had a big long glide in. I lost that race on the back end, not on the first 50, which is quite frustrating as that’s what I’ve been working on the most this year.
“I have to go away and look at that and make myself better for Paris. That’s all I can really do.
“I want to thank everyone who’s brought me here even though it wasn’t the result that I and my team and the British Paralympics team wanted.
“I’ve come so far in the last seven years since I was 18 and I wouldn’t have been here without all the coaches over the years.
“They have gone to the moon for me this last year. They gave me all the pool time and got me back in the water.
“I wouldn’t be here without those people. When things go south, these are the guys that are really there for me and they will be there for me coming out of this. They are like my family.
“I definitely want a gold medal in my career, so there is no chance of me retiring any time soon.
“I’ll go away from this and come back with a vengeance in Paris.”
Clegg won the first of his bronze medals in the men’s S12 100m backstroke last Friday, August 27, setting a new British record and a new personal best with a time of 1:01.27, and he got his second on Tuesday, August 31, in the S12 100m freestyle final, cutting his own British record to 53.43.