2012 Paralympic Games: Silver Sunday brings as much joy as it does despair
There were tears of joy and tears of heartbreak as ‘Super Saturday’ was followed by ‘Silver Sunday’ for the West Country’s Paralympic heros.
Poole-born Will Bayley broke down after losing 3-1 in the final of his Class 7 table tennis gold-medal match, but German winner Jochen Wollmert saluted his opponent, who got a standing ovation to soothe his pain.
There was gold delight in the team dressage event for Somerset’s equestrian star Deborah Criddle, after an anxious afternoon at the Greenwich dressage arena.
The 46-year-old, from Trull, near Taunton, went first on the final afternoon of the Grade III individual event and had to wait for everyone else to ride to see if her 71.267 per cent score. With just three riders remaining, she was in the gold medal position, but German Hannelore Brenner was the only one to beat her score.
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Criddle, who lost an arm and 50 per cent use of her right leg in a motorbike accident in 1985, said a slight mistake early on in her ride had cost her the gold. She said: “He's very sensitive and I didn't quite have the power in my right leg to get him back. There's more atmosphere out there today but that's what you've got to ride with.
“For the mistakes I made it was a pretty good score. I stopped moving my seat and he realised that. That happens and I'm pleased we got it back,” added Criddle, who won three golds in 2004 but missed out on the medals in Beijing.
“It’s happened and there will be another day although not another London 2012 but I've only had LJT Akilles 18 months. It's a lot to ask,” she added.
But that silver performance, coupled with medals from her team-mates in their categories, meant Criddle won the team gold for Great Britain.
Hereford-born James Bevis bagged a bronze in the 10m air rifle competition, after narrowly losing in a shoot-off with Frenchman Raphael Voltz on Saturday. The pair were tied in second place after the main competition, but Voltz won silver with a score of 10.5 to Bevis’ 10.4 in the decider.
Dorset-based sailors Alexandra Rickham and Niki Burrell are in medal contention for Great Britain after the fourth race of their regatta at Weymouth.
The pair train at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy and are using their home knowledge to good effect in the Skud class, while Helena Lucas, who is also based in Dorset, is third overall after her fourth race in the 2.4mR following an 11th place finish yesterday.
Meanwhile, the Portland-based Sonar crew of John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Stephen Thomas kept themselves in medal contention in their fourth race. They finished fifth in that race and are also fifth overall going into this week’s races.
Dorset-born Barney Storey won a silver medal piloting blind cyclist Neil Fachie in the Velodrome yesterday, to follow gold in the 1km time trial on Saturday. The Wimborne cyclist, whose wife Sarah bagged a second gold over the weekend, was beaten yesterday in two races in an all-British final, against the same pair who they beat on Saturday in a world record time.
And there were more silver glows in Wiltshire after Trowbridge teenager Aaron Moores bagged a second spot in the 100m backstroke on Saturday night.
The 18-year-old did not expect to finish in the top five but set a blistering pace to challenge for the lead in the two-length race. He finished with a personal best time of 1.04mins, and couldn’t believe he had got a silver.
“I am so happy, I was expecting to come fourth or at best third and then I looked up and I was second,” he said.
“I was so surprised because second place is amazing. During the race I was trying to get a bronze and I looked up and I had the silver.
“It feels amazing and it is something I have been working for my whole life. Now I have finally got it.
“I didn’t expect to get a medal in my first Games. This is the best thing that has happened in my life,” he added.
“The crowd helped me a lot, they were really cheering for me,” said Moores. “It was such a hard race and I was kicking as hard as I could. I couldn’t even feel my legs and my arms were flying all over the place,” he said.