By Owen Morgan
John Bridge blasted his way to a brilliant silver medal on his Great Britain debut at the European Para Athletics Championships in Poland on Thursday evening.
The Caerphilly athlete clocked a huge new personal best of 50.75 in the T47 400m final as he took more than a second off his previous fastest time.
The 21-year-old led for much of the race and was still in pole position as he entered the home straight.
The Bydgoszcz Bridge! 🥈
GB’s John Bridge takes silver and sets a new personal best in the T47 men’s 400m final 🇬🇧#Bydgoszcz2021 pic.twitter.com/1CtDt50NPM
— C4 Paralympics (@C4Paralympics) June 3, 2021
But Serbia’s Ivan Cvetkovic eventually overhauled the Welshman in the closing stages to take gold in 50.63.
A delighted Bridge said afterwards: “I am so happy, I didn’t expect that. I thought I’d got third place!
“I was trying to get to 23 seconds on the first 200m and see what I could do on the second 200m. I was just trying to hold it as I got close to the line.
“I haven’t felt that much lactic in my legs for a long time, I can feel it now. I was trying to push harder when the Serbian went passed me, I don’t remember much of the last few metres.
“I’m so happy to win the silver medal, I can’t believe it. It will be so amazing to get that medal. I am so happy right now. I will love every second of it.”
Bridge was one of seven British medallists on the day which brings the team’s haul to six golds, six silvers and seven bronze medals to date.
The championships continue on Friday with Welsh athletes Olivia Breen and Rhys Jones going in the T38 long jump final and the T37 200m final respectively. Harrison Walsh will contest the men’s F64 discus final.
All the action from Poland is being live streamed on the Channel 4 Para Sport website.
British medallists (19):
Gold (6): Fabienne André [Women’s T34 100m], Columba Blango [Men’s T20 400m], Sophie Hahn [Women’s T38 100m], Maria Lyle [Women’s T35 200m], Zak Skinner [Men’s T13 100m], Thomas Young [Men’s T38 100m]
Silver (6): John Bridge [Men’s T47 400m], Jonathan Broom-Edwards [Men’s T42/44/62/64 High Jump], Shaun Burrows [Men’s T38 400m], Kyron Duke [Men’s F41 Shot Put], Danny Sidbury [Men’s T54 1500m], Vanessa Wallace [Women’s F34 Shot Put]
Bronze (7): Ola Abidogun [Men’s T47 100m], Nathan Maguire [Men’s T54 400m], Polly Maton [T47 Long Jump], Luke Nuttall [Men’s T46 1500m], Luke Sinnott [Men’s T63 Long Jump], Emily Stewart [Women’s F38 Discus], Alexander Thomson [Men’s T38 400m]