Paralympian’s reign comes to an end

Tom Aggar, (OE 1995-2002) who had been widely expected to retain his Paralympic title in the men’s single sculls, finished outside the medals in the final at Eton Dorney.

The 28-year-old, who took gold in Beijing, and was previously undefeated in international competition, finished fourth. He had qualified comfortably for the final, although the Chinese competitor, Cheng Huang took five seconds off Tom’s world record in his qualifying heat.

After the race, Tom spoke to BBC Radio 5 Live: “I’m absolutely devastated. The standard has really improved year-on-year and I’ve always managed to stay ahead of the curve. I’ve turned in Personal Bests all year, but today, when I dug deep, there was nothing there.”

Later, Tom was philosophical in defeat: “It’s sport; you’ve got to take it on the chin. I’ve loved every minute of this experience and it’s definitely made me more determined now.”

“We are very proud of Tom’s individual achievements as an international rower,” said QE Headmaster Neil Enright. “He has contributed magnificently to improving standards in the sport. As he implied himself, he was the target to beat and he has handled this first defeat with great dignity.”

London 2012 has seen other standard-bearers reeled in by the following pack. Britain’s Lee Pearson was hot favourite for his tenth Paralympic gold in the 1A Dressage, but was pushed into second place by Joann Formosa of Australia. Another shock result was that of Oscar Pistorius, beaten into second place in the 200m by Brazil’s Alan Oliveria.