Blackpool-born Isaac Towers misses out on medal in Paralympics 800m final

Blackpool-born wheelchair racer Isaac Towers missed out on a medal at the Paralympics in Tokyo, finishing seventh in the T34 800m final.

Saturday, 4th September 2021, 8:11 am
Updated Saturday, 4th September 2021, 8:18 am
Disappointment for the Brits in the T34 800m wheelchair final in Tokyo, where Isaac Towers and Ben Rowlings (rear) finished seventh and eighth

Despite recording the second-fastest time in Friday's heats, the 22-year-old from Catterall could not match the pace of Tunisian Walid Ktila, who stormed to victory in a Paralympic record time of 1min, 45.50secs.

After a tight first lap on the wet Olympic Stadium track, in which the Finn Henry Manni led the way, world record holder Ktila and the defending champion Mohamed Alhammadi stormed clear on the back straight to turn this two-lap showpiece into a thrilling head-to-head.

Alhammadi, from the United Arab Emirates, had to settle for silver in 1.45.59, with Yang Wang taking bronze for China in 1.45.68.

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It had been hoped the feats of Britain's Hannah Cockroft, who had defied an injury in the warm-up to storm to victory in the equivalent women's race moments earlier, would inspire the Brits in the men's final but they finished in seventh and eight places.

Towers clocked 1:48.08, with GB teammate Ben Rowlings eighth in 1.48.63.

It was a disappointment for former AKS and Cardinal Newman College pupil Towers after his season's best 1.46.58 in the heat, a time bettered only by Alhammadi.

It means Towers, who finished fifth in the final in Rio five years ago, must wait until Paris in 2024 for another chance to add a Paralympic medal to his Para World Championships bronze from 2017 and his five European Championship medals. These include 800m gold in Italy five years ago.

The 800m was Towers' only event in Tokyo. He also competes in the 200m and 400m but those distances do not feature at the Paralympics in Isaac's category.

The T34 category is for athletes with cerebral palsy.