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Rushgrove and Clegg Take Sprint Silvers

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Ben Rushgrove receives his medal




9 September 2008




Super students Ben Rushgrove and Libby Clegg stormed to 100m silvers in the Bird’s Nest this morning bringing Britain’s athletics squad a little ray of light on a gloomy morning.


Rushgrove won Britain’s first track medal of the day when he powered to second in the T36 100m behind Ukraine’s Roman Pavlyk.


The 20-year-old Bath student responded superbly after a sluggish start and with a late surge grabbed the silver in 12.35 from China’s So Wa Wai.


Rushgrove, who broke the world 200m record at the Paralympic World Cup in Manchester last year, was delighted to take a medal with a personal best in his second event as Pavlyk broke the Paralympic record to win gold.


“It felt awesome,” said Rushgrove. “I came out of my blocks well and pushed all the way for silver.


“The Ukraine athlete beat me at the 2006 world champs, but I didn't think he would run that fast.”


Rushgrove injured his foot recently and was quick to thank ParalympicsGB team’s medical support.


“Without the doctors and physio here, and at Bath, I wouldn't have made it,” he said. “They kept me in one piece after my foot injury. They were a fantastic team.”


Rushgrove, who was cheered on by his family, added: “I have never competed in front of a big crowd like this, it really spurred me on. It lifts you when you walk out through the tunnel. I want to go out there again now.”


He’ll have to wait a while, though. Rushgrove goes for more medals in the 200m on Monday (15 September) along with Chorley sprinter Graeme Ballard who was eighth in the 100m final in 12.65.


"I gave it my best shot,” said Ballard. “I had a good start but they were just too strong for me. I'll pick myself up now for the 400m next and really go for it."


Clegg also chased a powerful Ukrainian to claim her silver medal in 12.51. The 18-year-old Roxburghshire student broke clear of the rest to take second but couldn’t match Oxana Boturchuk’s surge.


“The Ukrainian athlete is wicked fast,” said Clegg as Boturchuk clocked 11.99. “Hopefully she'll be there in London 2012 and we can have a good rematch.”


The visually impaired athlete was also spurred on by the cheers of her family. “I heard all the chanting in the crowd for me, my family were shouting ‘Libby, Libby, Libby’,” she said.


“I'm so excited. I felt really good. I was not as nervous as I thought I would be before the start.I don't think it’s hit me that I've got a silver but it’s amazing.”


Tracey Hinton bounced back from her disappointment at not qualifying for the T11 100m A final to perform well in the B event. The Cardiff athlete finished strongly to edge into second on the line in 13.18, securing sixth place overall.


"I was pleased with the race today,” she said. “I had to come back after the disappointment of last night, but I'm happier today."


Nathan Stephens finished eighth in the F57/58 shot put with 12.57, while Kate Arnold finished ninth in her heat of the T46 100m.


Stephens, who has the discus and javelin to come, said: "I am pleased to make the final eight. It was a great competition as the world record was broken three times.”


Arnold’s next event, is the 200m.



For news updates on ParalympicsGB please visit www.paralympics.org.uk