AILEEN McGLYNN emerged from the track cycling wilderness and Finlay Graham burst into the light as the Scottish pair claimed velodrome medals in Tokyo yesterday.

After representing Scotland at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, Paisley’s McGlynn lapsed into effective retirement, went months without going to the gym and rode only socially.

She won gold in Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008, then silver at London 2012, but the emergence of dominant sprinter Sophie Thornhill led her to give up on another Games.

Thornhill – reigning Paralympic and world champion in the kilo – retired when the Games were postponed last year, leaving a hole in the British squad for Tokyo.

To fill it, coaches came calling for McGlynn, now aged 48. “I didn’t formally retire but I stopped training, I wasn’t doing weights or anything,” said the Scot, who is visually impaired.

“I never thought I’d go to another Paralympics. Then I got approached and it was like, ‘right, you’ve got a testing day in four weeks, get on Zwift and crack on.”

Thornhill’s retirement left a vacant stoker seat on the tandem behind sighted pilot Helen Scott, who set the world record in 2018 and won silver alongside McGlynn in 2012.

So 12 weeks before the Paralympics opened, McGlynn and Scott got the band back together, a whirlwind reunion that ended in a fairy-tale B 1,000m time trial silver.

The British duo’s medalwinning time of 1:06.743 was a massive personal best, more than two seconds quicker than they had gone before. They finished only behind a Paralympic record time set by Larissa Klaassen and Imke Brommer of the Netherlands.

It might have been a decade since they rode together but it seems the bond is lifelong when you have shared a bike and hared around a velodrome to two Paralympic medals.

McGlynn said: “We’ve got on so well, we’ve really bonded despite the restrictions of Covid. We’ve worked together so hard, each day, given every training session total focus and made the most of every time we’re on the tandem. It’s been perfect.”

At the other end of the spectrum when it comes to experience, 26-year-old Graham smashed the world record and then won silver in the C3 3,000m individual pursuit.

The Scot had only raced the distance twice at major events, finishing fourth at the 2019 World Championships and fifth in 2020, but in his qualifying ride yesterday, he brought down the seven-year world record – the oldest in track para-cycling – with an incredible 3:19.780 in his first Paralympic race.

Graham’s record only stood for 20 minutes, however, with team-mate Jaco Van Gass setting a new mark of 3:17.593.

“It means everything,” said the man from Strathpeffer, who only moved to track racing in 2017, learning his trade at the Chris Hoy Velodrome.

“Even if it was only for a short time, it’s so nice to say that I’ve broken the world record at the Paralympics. It stood for so long.

“The extra year has given me the time to prepare to do that. If the Games was last year, I wouldn’t have been in a good position to do that.”

The pair faced off in the final, with Van Gass winning by 1.13 seconds in 3:20.987.

“I wouldn’t want to lose to anyone else,” said Graham. “It’s great to share the podium with Jaco. We’ve been basically living together for the last two months and training with him is amazing.”

Van Gass, who suffered life-changing injuries when hit by a grenade on active service in Afghanistan in 2013, felt Graham played his part in his gold-medal performance.

“All the praise goes to Finn, he pushed me really hard,” said the 35-year-old.

“To be honest, the 3:19 was my aim and then he rode it, so I had to recalculate and go faster! He pushed me really hard in the final. I was on my last legs.”

Elsewhere, Ayr’s Robyn Love and Jude Hamer suffered further disappointment after a frustrating 54-48 loss to Japan made it back-to-back women’s wheelchair basketball defeats.

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