All that glittered was athletics bronze for ParalympicsGB as Olivia Breen and Columba Blango both banked podium places at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo.
European champion Blango, competing at only his second major championships, clocked a personal best 47.81 seconds to claim third place in the men’s 400m T20.
And Breen – a three-time Paralympian – produced 4.91m with her very first jump to claim bronze in the women’s long jump T38, her first individual medal after a 4x100m relay bronze at London 2012.
“I’m over the moon with a bronze medal,” said Breen, after a competition won by Luca Ekler of Hungary with a world record 5.63m jump. “I would have liked to have jumped over five metres but the individual medal means so much to me.
“After I landed that first jump, I knew it was going to be a great competition.
“I just wanted to jump for my life and show what I can do. I was thinking about all the hard work I have put into this, and tried not to tense up. I needed to relax which is difficult to do in a major competition.
“This is my first individual Paralympic medal. I really wanted it in Rio but I put too much pressure on myself.
“You just have to keep driving, keep working hard and just never give up. I’m more mature and I wanted to make the most of every minute of this experience.”
Blango’s dad competed for Sierra Leone as a decathlete at the 1980 Olympics and he would have been proud to see a personal best time, his son splashing through heavy rain to earn his podium place.
Blango Jr said: “For a first Paralympic final, that was very good. I could see the Spanish athlete slowing down so I just told myself, ‘you’ve got this’.
“I just kept going, I am so pleased to win a medal. This was a tough race, it was a whole different level from the heat yesterday. That was serious.
“It’s a major PB. Chris Zah (his coach) knows my needs and wants, so we’ve worked well as a partnership. I’ve got a lot of gratitude for him to be in this position.
“My Dad always said one day I would make it, and he was right. It was such a different experience to anything I had experienced before, so it is definitely a race of a lifetime.”
Elsewhere, Hetty Bartlett finished sixth in Breen’s long jump final while Shaun Burrows was seventh in the men’s 400m T38 final.
Images courtesy: imagecomms