Sheffield rower Grace Clough wins Paralympic gold medal

Grace Clough: Paralympic gold medal winner in the mixed coxed fours team in Rio. Photo: peter spurrier/Intersport Images
Grace Clough: Paralympic gold medal winner in the mixed coxed fours team in Rio. Photo: peter spurrier/Intersport Images
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Grace Clough fought back the tears before, during and after her race after claiming Paralympic rowing gold in Rio.

Just three years after taking up the sport, the 25-year old from Sheffield joined forces with Daniel Brown, James Fox and Pamela Relph and cox James Oliver to win the mixed coxed four title.

And Clough admitted it was an emotional experience: “I was a bag of nerves before the final and I tried to stay calm and trust in all the training we had done because I’ve got such belief in my team-mates,” she said.

“There were some tears when we crossed the line because this is the culmination of so much hard work. There more tears on the podium when I got my medal too.

“When I started the journey just getting here was the challenge. Now I’m a Paralympic champion. It is more than a dream come through. It goes without saying that we have superb back up team and the lottery funding that we get makes it all possible.”

And Relph, the only member of the London 2012 winning team back in Rio, believes it could be just the start for the crew too, with Clough already looking ahead to Tokyo.

“It feels amazing. Coming through that last 250m I knew that we had won it, I knew no-one would come through us and the crowd really lifted us,” she said.

“This crew has come together brilliantly. We knew we were fitter, stronger and faster than our rivals but we still had to deliver.”

Meanwhile, Sheffield Steelers’ Phil Pratt played his part as Great Britain’s men’s wheelchair basketball team remained unbeaten with a 66-52 win over Germany.

And Sheffield-based table tennis player Will Bayley can look forward to bidding for gold again after winning his class 7 singles semi-final against Spain’s Jordi Morales Garcia.

He faces home favourite Israel Pereira Stroh today - the man he lost to in the group stage.

“I thought it could happen - he was playing so well when he was playing me - I ‘m not surprised he’s got to the final but I’m excited about playing him again,” he said.

* You can help #Supercharge ParalympicsGB to Rio 2016 and beyond. Show your support for the team and find out more atwww.paralympics.org.uk/supercharge7