Stephen Clegg is already turning his attentions to Paris after missing out on Paralympic gold to rival Raman Salei in the 100m butterfly S12. 

The 25-year-old had already won a pair of bronzes in Tokyo but came into the fly as the world record holder and favourite for gold. 

Azerbaijan’s Salei, who had won two golds coming into this event, qualified fastest for the final. And while Clegg surged into the lead on the final 25m, he misjudged his finish, allowing Salai to come through and take it in 57.81, six hundredths clear of Clegg, but a full second outside the Brit’s world record. 

Understandably, there was frustration for Clegg, who has prioritised the butterfly all week. 

He said: “I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed, I came here to win and it is quite far short of where I wanted to be. I can’t really make any excuses, my prep coming into the meet was really good and I’ve been where I wanted to be in my other events.” 


I definitely want a gold medal from my career, so there’s no chance of me retiring any time soon. I’ll go away from this and come back with a vengeance for Paris.”

Stephen Clegg

Clegg, whose elder siblings Libby and James have both won Paralympic medals in athletics and swimming respectively, started strongly in the final as he chased down the fast-starting Illia Yaremenko. 

However a slow turn allowed Salei to close the gap on him, and again the Azeri swimmer judged the distance to the wall better going into the finish. 

Clegg, however, felt that it was not necessarily a technical issue, but more that he had not been at his best all day, admitting his heat swim had given an indication that he was out of sorts. 

He added: “I think I lost the race this morning, I just wasn’t good enough. There’s no real excuse for it. I don’t want to stand here and say I didn’t get this because of X, Y or Z, that’s not my thing.

“At the end of the day, I’m in control of my race, there’s nobody else in the lane with me. Some days you just don’t have it and today was one of those. 

“I can’t take anything away from Raman either, he swam an amazing race and he was just better than me today. The heartbreak is I know I’m capable of going quite a bit faster and I wasn’t anywhere close to my best.” 

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