NEIL Fachie revelled in a perfect day after regaining a Paralympic title, breaking his own world record and doing it all alongside the love of his life.
The Aberdeen cyclist obliterated the tandem kilo world record with pilot Matt Rotherham and exorcised the demons of Rio, where he lost grip on the title he won at London 2012.
Fachie continues to push the boundaries of the four-lap event and obliterated his own lifetime best of 59.278 with a remarkable ride to 58.038 in Tokyo.
“You’re always aspiring for the perfect race, and it’s something you never achieve but I feel like that was pretty damn close,” said the 37-year-old. “It was a case of just keeping smooth and keeping strong. We knew it would take a new world record to win, when Matt turned around to me and told me the time, it was mind-blowing.
“We came in as favourites in Rio and were outdone by a better bike. It was a hard defeat to take and then a few months later I lost both of my world titles, so at that point I thought the end of my career was coming.
“Then Matt and I teamed up and the rest is history, as they say.
“It was an impressive record before and it’s going to be hard to beat now. It’s an incredible journey and an incredible moment.”
Neil missed out on sharing the moment with wife Lora in London and again in Rio, but they were not to be denied a family day out this time.
Lora watched Ireland’s Katie-George Dunlevy break the world record in the B 3,000m individual pursuit and then brought down that new mark with 3:19.483 alongside Corrine Hall, to retain the crown she won in Brazil.
It was a fitting end to a long journey for the couple, building a Paralympic legacy to rival the Olympic one of Laura and Jason Kenny.
They set up a life coaching business together in 2017 and Neil credits Lora with helping him accept his impairment, which he struggled with in his younger years.
“The Kennys are an incredible family so to be even in the same sentence as them is amazing,” he said. “Lora and I have had mixed success over the years. We thought the moment might not actually come when we both won gold.
“She obliterated the world record, and I have as well. Nobody even dreams of this, it’s way beyond anything you can imagine.
“I knew how hard Lora works, she’s been fighting for this, and she deserves every bit of it.”
It was an incredible morning for British cycling in Izu, yielding five medals to swell the track medal haul to six golds and 14 overall. While there was victory in the mixed team sprint with Kadeena Cox and Jaco van Gass winning their second titles and Jody Cundy claiming his eighth career Paralympic success, there was also a podium place for Killearn sighted pilot Lewis Stewart, who won silver with James Ball behind Fachie and Rotherham.
And Blairdrummond’s Jenny Holl, 21, managed bronze with Sophie Unwin in the 3000m.
Elsewhere, Afghan vet and Prince Harry pal Micky Yule got his tactics spot on as he captured powerlifting bronze.
Musselburgh’s Yule lifted 182kg – three times his body weight – to snatch a prized podium spot.
“We played a dangerous game of poker and we won and you know what – we never even had anything in our hand,” he joked.
“It just means everything and it seems like a bit of a dream at the moment because I wasn’t the strongest.
“Smarts can sometimes win and it did and we leave with this bronze medal.”
Meanwhile, Stirling triathlete Alison Peasgood narrowly missed out on a second Paralympic medal, finishing fourth in the PTVI2 event, but said just making it to the start line was victory in itself.
On the eve of the Games, she was on crutches with a back injury and was unsure she would even be able to race.
“I was on crutches at the holding camp and I didn’t think this was possible. Even up until last week we still thought we might be flying back,” she said. “So to be here and actually be competitive, it’s pretty special.”
Scottish Commonwealth Games star Stef Reid produced the second-best leap of her career but it was only good enough for fourth in the long jump.
Reid, a silver medallist in the T62 event at London and Rio, produced a huge leap of 5.75m but still finished just four centimetres off the podium.
“Fourth is new to me but that was my best Paralympic performance ever, so it’s bittersweet,” she said, with the event won by Holland’s Fleur Jong in a 6.16m world record.
“That was a massive season’s best and I’m so proud of turning my season around.”
In wheelchair tennis, Gordon Reid began the defence of his singles title with a classy 6-2, 6-0, second-round win over South Africa’s Leon Els.
Sainsbury’s is a proud supporter of ParalympicsGB and a champion of inclusive sport for all. Sainsbury’s commitment to helping customers to eat better has been at the heart of what we do since 1869. For more information on Sainsbury’s visit www.sainsburys.co.uk/ and https://paralympics.org.uk/