Weather can't prevent Middlesbrough's Jones from grabbing Commonwealth bronze

Jade Jones with her medal

Jade Jones with her medal

First published in Sport

WHEELCHAIR racer Jade Jones looked to the heavens and cursed her luck – but still emerged with a career best bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

The skies in Scotland have been fifty shades of grey all week and they opened to drench Jones and her rivals just moments before last night's T54 1500m final.

Wheelchair racing in wet weather can become a bit of a lottery as athletes struggle to get any purchase on propelling their chairs.

But Jones was determined not to be phased by the conditions, finishing third in 4:00.19 minutes behind Australia's Angela Ballard and Canada's Diane Roy in a high-quality field.

"We don't tend to do so well in the rain and when I saw the weather I was pretty nervous," admitted Jones, who finished tenth in the 1500m final at the London 2012 Paralympics.

"I knew I had to keep my cool otherwise things would go very wrong but this was a really unexpected outcome.

"The rain changed the race so much, it really spread us out because some girls cope better with it than others.

"My aim coming in was top five, I never for a moment thought I'd get a medal. This is up there with my best achievements and it's a great learning curve as we look towards the Paralympics in two years."

Elsewhere fellow wheelchair racer Will Smith may have missed out on a medal but there was no wiping a smile from the 18-year-old’s face after his first senior final.

Smith ended up fifth in the men’s T54 1500m final that was won by his mentor and training partner David Weir, the six-time Paralympic champion.

Smith stopped the clock in 3:25.04, less than a second and a half outside the bronze medal winner, Alex Dupont of Canada.

But despite the wet conditions at Hampden Park, Smith was delighted with his efforts on his Commonwealth Games debut.

“It was a bit wet out there but coming into the championships my main target was to qualify through to the final and that is what I did," he said. 

“It was tactical in the final so I was able to hold my own and stay in the pack for a lot of it but the top, top guys just have the sprint on me at the moment.

“I am just looking to progress at this stage but to be at Commonwealth finals is a fantastic experience.”

Commonwealth Games England (CGE) leads and manages the participation of the Team England at the Commonwealth Games and Commonwealth Youth Games. We work with sports, Sponsors and Sport England to support the development of athletes and their sports, and to achieve success at Games-time.

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