Just one night after Isis Holt’s famous victory, Australian Para-athletics uncovered yet another teenaged sprint sensation tonight when15-year-old Rhiannon Clarke claimed a silver in her international debut at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Competing in the T38 100m, the Perth-based high school student clocked 13.17 seconds finishing behind multiple Paralympic champion Sophie Hahn (12.46) from England, and in front of Wales’ Olivia Breen (13.35).
Having only dreamed of earning selection for the Commonwealth Games, Clarke said a silver medal was beyond her wildest expectations.
“I was so surprised. I was expecting to get bronze or something, but then I saw (I won) silver and that’s amazing,” the 15-year-old said.
Clarke began her journey in Para-athletics four years ago after participating at an APC Come and Try day, where she was marked as a potential Paralympian for the Tokyo 2020 Games.
“Back when I went to that Para Come and Try Day, I found out I could be going to Tokyo and even that was a surprise.
“But there was no way I expected to go to the Commonwealth Games before Tokyo, so that’s exciting.”
“When I got the B-qualifier at Nationals (which earned selection), I didn’t know what was going to happen, and now I have a silver medal.”
After a season of training, she improved her time to 13.81 in the lead up to trials, and most recently ran 13.60 in the test event for the Games.
The race concluded the campaign for Australian Para-athlete at Carrara Stadium. All eyes are now on Sunday’s wheelchair marathon headlined by two-time Paralympic champion Kurt Fearnley and Commonwealth Games 1500m champion Madison de Rozario.
Story: Sascha Ryner, APC Media
Photo: Getty Images