Gold Coast 2018: Double delight for Sophie Thornhill

England Para cyclist and pilot Helen Scott claim both Commonwealth Games titles 07 Apr 2018
two female Para cyclists stand on the podium with their gold medals

Sophie Thornhill (R) and pilot Helen Scott swept the board at Gold Coast 2018

ⒸGetty Images
By Beau Greenway | For the IPC

England star Sophie Thornhill stamped her authority as the world’s best Para cycling sprint rider with two world records and two gold medals at Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Thornhill produced a stunning time of 1:04.623 to win the women’s 1000m time trial B&VI on Saturday (7 April), shaving almost half a second off her previous world record.

Australian Jessica Gallagher put the pressure on with a games record time of 1:07.165, but Thornhill responded to relegate her to second, while Scotland’s Aileen McGlynn was third with a 1:08.993.

Thornhill’s programme got off to a flying start when she took out the women’s sprint B&VI on Thursday (5 April).

She won the three-race final with a clean sweep against Australian Jessica Gallagher, by a margin of 0.167 and 0.204.

Thornhill reached the final in impressive fashion during the morning’s qualifying session, posting a world record of 10.609, faster than the previous best she set at the UCI Para Cycling Track World Championships in Rio de Janeiro last month. Gallagher was second quickest with a 10.954, while Scotland’s Aileen McGlynn was third in a time of 11.157.

Thornhill’s Commonwealth Games effort means she has captured four gold medals and four world records in the space of two weeks after dominating the same two events at the world championships.

“It's more than we [pilot Helen Scott and I] ever thought we'd come away with, to come away with four golds and four world records is just insane,” Thornhill said.

“Everyone kept asking me if I was going to break [my own world record], but I'm absolutely over the moon.”

In the other two events, Scotland’s Neil Fachie claimed a golden double of his own with wins in both the men’s sprint B&VI and the men’s 1000m time trial B&VI.

Fachie was a class above Welshman James Ball, clean sweeping the final with winning margins of 0.147 and 0.361.

The bronze medal went to Australia’s Brad Henderson who was too strong for Malaysian Muhammad Afiq Afify Rizan.

Henderson snuck through in race one by 0.034, but blew his opponent away by 1.459 in the second sprint to get onto the podium.

Fachie lowered his own world record in qualifying with a blistering effort of 9.568, edging out Ball (10.022), Rizan (10.037) and Henderson (10.124).

The Scot set up a semi-final with Henderson, and, after a close 0.144 victory in the first race, he breezed into the gold medal event with a margin of 1.625 in race two.

Ball booked his place in the final with 0.276 and 0.273 margins against Rizan in the other semi-final.

Fachie’s other gold came on Thursday (5 April) in the men’s 1000m time trial B&VI.

The world record holder in the category, Fachie broke the games record he set at Glasgow 2014 by more than two seconds with a 1:00.065

Ball grabbed silver with a 1:00.900, while home favourite Henderson ensured Australia would come away with another medal, capturing the bronze in 1:01.512.