Clegg and Peacock help ParalympicsGB win upgraded silver in universal relay

An upgraded silver medal in the inaugural “universal” 100m relay race capped a strong day on the track for ParalympicsGB as the team reached a total of 110 medals, and reclaimed second spot in the table.

Three mixed gender relays were added to the programme for the Tokyo 패럴림픽, with the first two taking place in the pool and proving a hit, with a new variation on racing dynamics. On Friday it was the turn of the sprinters to mix it up, with Britain fielding a team comprising the Paralympic champions Libby Clegg and Jonnie Peacock alongside the T38 class sprinter Ali Smith and the wheelchair racer Nathan Maguire.

In a four-team field for the final, Britain were up against China, Japan and the United States, with a strong American lineup featuring both Nick Mayhugh and Tatyana McFadden dominating from the start. But a strong opening from Clegg, handing over to Peacock, earned Britain second position at halfway. China edged ahead in the third leg, run by Smith for Britain, with Maguire in a duel with the Japanese racer Suzuki Tomoki on the final 100m, which Maguire won.

It seemed like bronze for Britain, which was still a cause for celebration on what looks set to be Clegg’s last race after she confirmed her retirement from international competition. After a review, 하나, judges disqualified the Chinese team for an illegal handover and the British foursome were upgraded to silver.

Peacock afterwards talked up the merits of the new competition, which can result in leads swinging between teams from leg to leg but ultimately offers a reflection of a collective endeavour.

“It’s a very different event and it showcases the best of everyone,” Peacock said. “It’s good fun to watch, not something you’d see at your average athletics meet and hopefully something you’ll see more of.”

“To be a part of Libby’s last race and get a medal with her is just incredible,” Peacock continued. “She’s not talked about it but she’s run through so much pain at these Games and those were not easy legs for her. She gritted her teeth and got us a medal; I’m so proud.”

Clegg said she shared the sentiment, before confirming the end of a racing career that saw her win a sprint double in Rio, an achievement she said meant less to her than this one.

“I’m so privileged and proud to be a part of this team and share this moment with these guys,” Clegg said. “I won two Paralympic golds in Rio and it didn’t make me happy, right now this is my proudest moment – being part of this team.

“I’m going to take some time out but this is my last running competition, unless I dabble in a sports day when my son is at primary school. To end my athletics career with this medal is a dream come true.”

Earlier in the day, Britain struck gold twice in the Olympic Stadium. Owen Miller shocked a stacked field in the 1500m T20, which included the world record holder, Michael Brannigan, to finish in a time of 3min 54.57sec on his first ever Paralympic appearance and only second international tournament. In the T64 high jump Jonathan Broom-Edwards upgraded from the silver he won in Rio with a leap of 2m 10cm.

For the previous Paralympic champions Hollie Arnold and Richard Whitehead there was frustration but still success as they won bronze and silver medals, respectively, in the F46 javelin and T61 200m. Rounding out the podium-occupying on the day was Hannah Taunton, who took bronze in the women’s T20 1500m.

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