Bronze medal joy for Samantha Kinghorn and Stephen Clegg at Tokyo 2020 Paralympics

Gordon’s Samantha Kinghorn today, September 1, won a bronze medal at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics and she’s hoping for further success to follow.

By Darin Hutson
Wednesday, 1st September 2021, 6:42 pm
Gordon's Samantha Kinghorn at the medal ceremony for the women's 100m T53 on day eight of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games today (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images for International Paralympic Committee)
Gordon's Samantha Kinghorn at the medal ceremony for the women's 100m T53 on day eight of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games today (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images for International Paralympic Committee)

The 25-year-old claimed the third podium place in the women’s T53 100m event at the games in Japan this afternoon and is due to take part in round one of the heats for the 400m T53 early tomorrow, September 2.

China’s Gao Fang took gold in a time of 16.29 seconds and fellow Chinese competitor Zhou Hongzhuan was runner-up.

Interviewed on Channel 4 after her medal win, the Borderer told of her joy and also her hopes for the French Paralympics in 2024, saying: “It’s been a long day waiting on the final, but I can’t believe it.

Samantha Kinghorn celebrates winning a bronze medal after competing in the women's 100m T53 final at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games today (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

“To come fifth in Rio and now to get bronze, and the thing is I know I’m still getting faster and I know that one day I will win gold, but it’s just learning.

“Every single time I am on the track, I learn something, and I’ve learned something else today.

“The hardest thing for me is looking up and my parents aren’t in the crowd because they are the ones I want to see the most.

“I’m just so chuffed to come away with the medal.

Bronze medal-winner Stephen Clegg after the men’s 100m backstroke S12 at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games last Friday (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

“I know I have got more in me. I know I have a sub-16-second time in me, and that’s the main aim.

“I am 25 years old and a lot of these girls on the starting line are a lot older than me and have a lot more experience, and I know that every year, another winter, I’ll be stronger and stronger.

“There’s three years until Paris. I’ll be 28 and hopefully more mature and hopefully I will be faster.

“I have the 400m heats tomorrow and I am really excited.

“The aim was to win a medal in the 100m and I am so pleased that I managed to do that.

“I feel pretty strong for the 400m and am really looking forward to it. It’s a tough distance. The lactic really hits you hard but seeing what my start is like and seeing I’m with the Chinese contestants at 100m, it gives me some excitement for the 400m and what I can do tomorrow.”

Kinghorn won’t be the only Paralympian returning to the Borders with a medal either as Newcastleton’s Stephen Clegg has won two already, and he too is hoping for further success.

The 25-year-old swimmer came third in the men’s S12 100m freestyle final in Tokyo yesterday, August 31, breaking his second British record of the games with his time of 53.43.

That medal followed another bronze he picked up in the S12 100m backstroke race last Friday, August 27, with a time of 1.01.27.

Clegg will be back in the pool on Friday, September 3, for the S12 100m butterfly’s second heat.

His success follows that enjoyed by sister Libby and brother James, but he says he won’t be happy until he’s upgraded from bronze to silver or gold.

Libby, also in Tokyo, is a four-time athletics medallist at the games, including going double gold in Rio, and James won swimming bronze in the 100m butterfly at London 2012.

“It's such a relief to finally get that medal,” he said after picking up his first bronze.

“I didn’t have much expectation but knew there was potential.

“I’ve 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.”

Bronze, though, is not the colour of medal Clegg came for as he hopes to go for gold on Friday.

“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 said.

“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 Edinburgh University coach Chris Jones for his confidence going into the games, adding that he believes the year’s delay caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has boosted his medal hopes in Japan.