Garstang wheelchair ace Isaac Towers will benefit greatly from his Paralympic experience, says his proud nanna Maureen.
The 17-year-old para-athlete, who lives in the village of Catterall, belied his age to finish fifth in the T34 800m final inside the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro.
Towers produced a personal best time of one minute and 43.45 seconds – slashing more than a second off his previous best of 1:44.67, set when he became European champion earlier this year in Grosseto, in Italy.
In the end, the battle for gold turned into a head-to-head between Mohamed Alhammadi of the United Arab Emirates and Walid Ktila of Tunisia.
It was Alhammadi who emerged victorious in 1.40.24, which smashed the Paralympic record. He beat Ktila by seven hundredths of a second, with the Australian Rheed McCracken third and Finland’s Henri Manni fourth.
Towers, who has cerebral palsy, was due back on home soil last night and Maureen Towers said: “We are all really proud of what he’s achieved.
“It was 110 degrees heat out in Rio so it was tough out there.
“He got a personal best time, which we think is the best time by an English athlete ever.
“He’s worked so hard and we did not expect an awful lot more, but you never know.
“Isaac is only 17 and the other athletes are all in their 20s and 30s, but it was a great experience for him.”
Towers and his family faced a nervous wait after his heat in Rio. He finished in fourth, but managed to qualify for the final as one of the fastest losers.
“Oh yes, it was a bit nerve-wracking,” said Maureen, who kept in touch with her grandson in Brazil via daily text messages.“But he had three of the four athletes who finished above him in the final in his heat.”