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Husband and wife both win Paralympic gold

Husband and wife both win Paralympic gold
Lora and Neil Fachie after their medal ceremonies at the Izu Velodrome. (Internet Image)

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Neil Fachie said it was “beyond our dreams” after he and wife Lora both won Paralympic cycling gold within the space of 16 minutes.

The Fachies’ success was part of a superb Saturday for the Great Britain team that brought seven gold medals overall.

Neil and pilot Matt Rotherham smashed their own world record to beat team-mates James Ball and Lewis Stewart for gold in the B 1 000m time trial.

They surpassed their old time of 59.278 seconds with a new mark of 58.038 to give Neil his second Paralympic gold after he won with Barney Storey at London 2012.

And shortly afterwards, Lora and Corrine Hall successfully retained their B 3 000m pursuit crown.

The pair qualified fastest for the final, also setting a world record, and finished just under two seconds ahead of Ireland’s Katie-George Dunlevy and Eve McCrystal in the final, with Britain’s Sophie Unwin and Jenny Holl winning bronze.

Neil and Lora had experienced mixed fortunes at London 2012 and Rio 2016 with Tokyo the first Paralympics where both made the top step of the podium.

Neil, 37, started his career as a sprinter in Beijing before switching to the bike and winning a gold and silver in London and silver in Rio. Lora, 32, failed to win a medal in London but along with Hall claimed gold and bronze four years later.

“There are days that are good in the relationship and there are days like today which we’ll never forget,” Neil told BBC Breakfast.

“We knew this day would be our big one. It was the same in Rio: Lora got the gold, I got the silver. Back in London, I got gold and Lora missed out.

“Of course we’re happy for each other but when you’re the one who wins, it’s harder, because you know how much the other one is hurting.

“So finally we’ve managed to both do it together, and to both break the world record as well is beyond our dreams. We hoped this would happen, but for it to actually come together is mind-blowing.”

Lora was born with a hereditary eye condition and lost her sight when she was five – she had to leave guide dog Tai at home while she travelled to Tokyo.

Despite her sight loss, she is a keen cook and in her spare time writes a food blog.

“We want each other to win but it doesn’t change anything if we don’t. It was great to see Neil go and do an absolutely cracking time,” she said.

“It’s a lot more stressful watching someone you care about racing than actually doing it yourself.”

While Neil’s Paralympic programme is at an end, Lora goes again in Tuesday’s tandem road race and Friday’s time trial. (BBC)