27th August 2021
LYLE SEALS PARALYMPIC MEDAL NO.4 TO KICK START TOKYO 2020 ATHLETICS PROGRAMME
Maria Lyle surged to women’s T35 100m bronze for the second consecutive Paralympic Games as she claimed the first British athletics medal at Tokyo 2020.
Lyle (coach: Jamie Bowie, club: Team East Lothian) was ParalympicsGB’s first track and field star to compete in Japan, with the heats of the women’s T35 100m coming early on the opening morning of athletics action at the Olympic Stadium.
She cruised through her heat in second spot with a time of 14.34s (wind: -0.7m/s) to line up in the final later in the session.
Ultimately, China’s Zhou Xia took a gold with a world record 13.00s, while Australia’s Isis Holt claimed silver but reigning world and European champion Lyle crossed the line in third with a season’s best 14.18s (+1.2). The time was her fastest since 2016.
After claiming her fourth Paralympic medal – following 100m and 200m bronzes, and 4x100m relay T35-38 silver in Rio – the Scot was chuffed to put a tricky 18 months behind her.
“That’s feels so good, I’m so happy with a bronze medal,” she said. “I didn’t know what to expect but I knew I was in good shape, a season’s best and a medal is more than I can ask for.
“I’ve tried not to think about this race until today and I just wanted to enjoy it.
“This has been five years of really hard work. The last 18 months have been so hard trying to understand if the Paralympics were even going to happen.
“I tried to take each day as it came and Covid made me realise I just need to enjoy training and competing.”
The other British interest on the opening morning was Ola Abidogun (Steve Thomas, Horwich), competing in the heats of the men’s T47 100m.
Like Lyle, his time of 11.17s (+0.1) was also a season’s best but after narrowly missing the top three in his heat, he was left sweating on qualification.
In the end, he was an agonising 0.02s short of progressing to the final later today and reflected on a disrupted build-up to the Games.
“Obviously two hundredths away from the final, naturally I’m devastated,” he said.
“I’ve had a difficult 18 months; I’ve been riddled with an ankle injury which is a sprinter’s curse. I definitely feel like I had more to give, it’s just because my legs are still waking up.
“Even getting here was massively unlikely, it hampered everything for me massively and heavily endangered selection. I was questioning if I would run at all because it was that bad, only now I’m running pain free.”
The British medallists:
Maria Lyle – Women’s T35 100m