Glory for Lauren Steadman led the way as ParalympicsGB picked up a glittering full complement of triathlon medals on day five of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.
Steadman upgraded the PT4 silver she won in Rio five years ago to PTS5 gold with a finish of 1:04:46, 41 seconds clear of American Grace Norman.
ParalympicsGB team-mate Claire Cashmore completed the podium in that race in a time of 1:07:36, while fellow Briton George Peasgood earlier won men’s silver in 58:55.
Steadman was favourite for gold in Brazil five years ago but was beaten by her American rival after making an error in the swim section.
The 28-year-old avenged that painful experience in Tokyo, with former swimmer Cashmore – an eight-time Paralympic medallist in her former sport – two minutes 50 seconds off the pace following a one-minute penalty.
“That’s a massive redemption. I was devastated after Rio, I was really destroyed, I didn’t go anywhere near my bike, my shoes or my swimsuit for seven months,” said Steadman.
“My coach told me: ‘You’re not done yet and keep going’. I put all my faith in him and he got me there. It’s been hit and miss over the last four years, some races I’ve won, some I’ve narrowly missed out on.
“Before Rio I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders and it really got to me.
“This time I knew the pressure was there but because Rio was a terrible experience, I was determined to just enjoy this regardless of whether I got a medal. When it hurt, I thought ‘this is what I built for’.”
Cashmore, still a relative newcomer in the sport, admitted frustration after picking up an in-race penalty but hinted she would be targeting a sixth Games in Paris.
“Right now it’s a bit raw, I’ve got some thinking to do,” she said.
“It’s a bronze medal at the Paralympics, I’ve got to take the highlights from that and be proud. It’s my first Games as a triathlete, I did the same in Athens as a swimmer and went up the ranks.
“I don’t think my performance would have been like that if certain things hadn’t happened in the race. I’m in the best shape of my life and there was a lot more in me today, it just wasn’t meant to be.
“I wasn’t happy with the penalty, they normally give you a warning and they didn’t. It’s done now, Grace and Lauren had a fantastic race and that is triathlon.”
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Still cycling to come for @george_peasgood 🥈#ParalympicsGB pic.twitter.com/FnjoLslW7m
Peasgood led his race through the swim and bike – his strongest element – but was caught by Schulz on the final lap in the 5km run and finished 45 seconds back.
However, he won’t have long to enjoy his podium moment, as he seeks a medal in another sport in Tuesday’s road cycling time trial.
“Everyone is gunning for the win, there are five or six people that could be on the podium and everyone is pushing for the gold,” he said.
“Being here is a massive success after the last couple of months, getting here was all I could ever want and getting a medal is just crazy.
“There were 100 per cent moments when I thought I wouldn’t be here. After a race in Yokohama I had a bone stress in my ankle. I had six weeks without any running and I was on the anti-gravity treadmill and focusing on swim and bike training.
“There have been times when I’ve been pretty bad physically and mentally.
“It’s was one day, one race. Alex [Yee] and Georgia [Taylor-Brown] showed that in the Olympics, as soon as I saw those medals I knew it was possible for me.”
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