EDINBURGH’S Scott Quin revealed he was one of the Paralympic swimmers forced to self-isolate in Japan but rebounded to win bronze 48 hours after returning to the pool.
The 31-year-old was identified as a close contact after a member of staff had tested positive for Covid-19 at ParalympicsGB’s prep camp in Suzuka.
He was forced into isolation on August 12, just as he was coming to terms with news his dad has been diagnosed with prostate cancer.
But at the end of the hardest two weeks of his life, he went out and finished third in the 100m breaststroke SB14 Paralympic final.
“I came out into Suzuka for a holding camp and unfortunately I was one of the athletes that got tracked and traced and I was going to be isolating for 14 days,” he said.
“Emotionally, it has been a hard journey. Isolation puts things into perspective and coming out here my dad was tested for prostate cancer, and when I was out here, I was told he has got cancer which is so hard to take.
“My grandmother is 97 and she has been in hospital so it has been hard in the last two weeks. I was only back in the pool on Friday.
“I said to my parents I was actually scared of failing and this is what hurts me the most if I fail them.
“If I had 12 sessions consistently in the pool, like I have been all season, I probably would have been quicker. I am gutted and not getting a personal best hurt me the most but at the end of the day, five years ago I came away with a silver [in Rio] and now I have a bronze. It puts life into perspective and I am so humble to race here.”
Quin touched the wall in 1:05.91, just over two seconds off the pace of Japan’s gold medallist Naohide Yamaguchi with Jake Michel finishing second for Australia.
At 31, the Scot is one of the elder statesmen of the team but he wants to carry on to Paris in three years’ time.
“I love this sport so much and I will say I am the biggest kid who loves this sport,” he added. “The University of Edinburgh have been a Covid bubble group and in the last year they have made me so welcome in the programme. I have really enjoyed myself and it’s why I want to carry on, I might be 31 but I want to leave the sport when I can’t physically leave anymore in the water.
“My team are great. It is almost like a jigsaw puzzle I have got; I don’t want to break the pieces or lose them. I must accept a medal is a medal, it’s the Paralympics the pinnacle of our sport. But I am just emotional.”
Maria Lyle’s Paralympic results were the same as Rio 2016 but the emotions very different as she repeated her T35 sprint double with 200m bronze in Tokyo.
The Dunbar star won her fourth Paralympic bronze medal, once again producing a season’s best when it mattered most and clocking 30.24 seconds to reach the rostrum.
It was a race in which the world record fell to China’s Xia Zhou with Australian Isis Holt second, 2.3 seconds ahead of Lyle.
“I’m really happy, I was so nervous before that race,” said the 21-year-old Scot. “It wasn’t the best way I wanted to execute it and it doesn’t matter what time you run, it’s where you place. I’m just trying to enjoy the experience.
“I was quite unhappy in Rio with my mental health and in all aspects of my life. It took time to recognise that and get it sorted.
“I’m in Tokyo and I’m loving and enjoying the experience. There’s more to life than running and I’m trying to enjoy it, at times that’s the most important thing.”
Melrose wheelchair racer Sammie Kinghorn came within a whisker of a maiden Paralympic medal, finishing fourth in the women’s T53 800m.
“The 800 hasn’t been my aim, so I just wanted to give it a shot and know that I gave it my all,” said Kinghorn, who missed the podium by 0.04 seconds.
Drymen’s Melanie Woods lowered her personal best for the second time in 10 hours with 1:50.40 to finish fifth in the women’s T54 800m.
In other action, Dumfries archer Nathan McQueen bowed out of the mixed team compound quarter-finals. He and team-mate Jessica Stratton went down 153-151 to Iran.
There was better news for Glasgow’s Gordon Reid, who reached the wheelchair tennis doubles quarter-finals alongside Alfie Hewett with a 6-0, 6-0, win against Austria’s Thomas Flax and Nico Langmann.
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