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Single sculler Aggar bags a battling bronze medal in Rio

Graeme Copas

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Single sculler Tom Aggar put behind him the disappointment of four years ago to finish on the podium for ParalympicsGB in Rio.

The Maidenhead resident, who is also a mem- ber at Marlow Rowing Club, won gold at Beijing in 2008 in the ASM1x category, but frustratingly crossed the line fourth in the final in London.

Aggar, 32, corrected that on Sunday by winning bronze in a time of 4mins 50.90secs, behind winner Roman Polianskyi of the Ukraine, and Australia's Erik Horre who was second.

Aggar, who had to qualify for the final through the repechage system, was delighted to have won bronze.

“I am so pleased to have made that cut and to have got on the podium,” he said.

“The event has moved on hugely since Beijing and it’s an amazing feeling.

“We did a lot of rehearsals of having to race three times here and I knew I had the fitness, so being in the repechage didn’t faze me.”

On Twitter, Aggar more succinctly added: “So yeah that happened earlier! What a feeling. #Podium #Bronze #Supercharge #ProudParalympian.”

In the heats, Aggar finished second to Horre in 4.50.99 which meant he had to race in the repechage to reach the final, which he did by wining his race in 4.56.17.

In the final he faced the ‘new-find’ of the arms-shoulders single scull Polianskyi, the in-form Horre plus reigning Paralympic champion Cheng Huang from China.

Aggar was third going through 250m with the Ukrainian and Australian as expected ahead of him. Huang was a second back in fourth at halfway with Aggar still holding third.

In the final 500m Aggar showed all his experience, fitness and determination to hold on well to take bronze more than three seconds ahead of fourth-placed Blake Haxton from the UAS.

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Maidenhead’s Sophie Christiansen has made the perfect start to her Games in the equestrian section.

The 28-year-old won three golds at London in 2012, on top of the two golds and a silver she won in Beijing in 2008.

She also won a bronze medal as a 16-year-old at the Paralympics in Athens in 2004.

Christiansen made a great start in Rio, beating 24 riders to finish top in her event on Monday.

Her score of 77.52pc was the highest mark of the competition so far.

Afterwards, Christian- sen said: “Athene’s so young [at nine years old] so to cope with that arena I was over the moon.

“It felt a bit tentative today, but I know that there’s more to come.

“Athene’s been absolutely amazing, for any nine-year-old to go out and do that, she doesn’t really like noise, but she absolutely knows her job.”

Monday was not a medalling opportunity but medals in the Grade 1a can be won in the individual classes on Thursday and Friday.

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