AS the dust settles on the Rio 2016 Paralympics, Samantha Kinghorn can enjoy a well-earned sense of contentment.

The 20-year-old wheelchair racer from Gordon in Berwickshire smashed her targets with aplomb, reaching the finals in all three of her events and setting a blistering European record in the T53 800m which scorched her own personal best by almost four seconds.

Lesser mortals would be happy to take some time out, but Kinghorn is never one to rest on her laurels. Not only has she already launched into winter training, but is eyeing a raft of fresh challenges for 2017. On that list: racing in the Chicago Marathon.

Kinghorn may be better known for her explosive power on the track, but alongside coach Ian Mirfin has drawn up ambitious plans for a marathon debut next autumn. The goal is to gain the qualification standard to compete over that distance at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.

"I'm contemplating the marathon," she says. "Apparently Ian has got me entered for the Chicago Marathon next year. We have got this love-hate battle going on at the moment.

"I love the road and I'm quite confident on hills, but it is a long time to be out there if you get out of the draft and have to spend two hours of the race on your own. I'm going to give it a bash."

The longest distance Kinghorn has done before is a half marathon. "The qualifying standard for Gold Coast is two hours and five minutes," she says. "The idea is I'll come out of the worlds in London and do a short block of marathon training before flying to Chicago."

Kinghorn will also target the T54 1500m at Gold Coast 2018, the same event she represented Team Scotland in at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow finishing fifth. But before then, it is her aim to compete at the 2017 World ParaAthletics Championships in London next July.

"That would be absolutely incredible," she says. "I'm really lucky to have two home Games so early in my sporting career, first with Glasgow 2014 and hopefully I'll get to race in London at the Olympic Stadium next year for worlds."

Kinghorn, a world bronze medallist and triple European champion, is keen to put the wealth of experience she gained competing at the Paralympics to good use.

It was, she says, the strongest field she has raced in. Chinese duo Huang Lisha and Zhou Hongzhuan swept gold across the board between them in the T53 class, while Australia's Angie Ballard also left with a clutch of medals including a silver and two bronze.

For Kinghorn, it also brought home to her the fierce psychological tactics used at top level.

"It was scary because I knew they [Huang and Zhou] would go off fast, but I hadn't raced them before so I didn't know what it was going to be like," she says. "In my first event [the 100m], especially in the final, I watched them a bit too much. They kept looking across at the start, trying to put me off a wee bit, so I know for next time not to do that."

Kinghorn was disqualified in the 400m final for what was initially cited as a lane infringement but later said to be as a false start. She is still unclear as to what the perceived infraction was.

"I was so happy with how my race went because I had been nervous beforehand," she says. "I was really conscious of staying in my lane and pretty confident I didn't infringe.

"Then they said I had a false start but if that was the case, they should have called me back and disqualified me. We have never heard of anyone who had a false start being allowed to run the race.

"I have watched the race back and it didn't look like I did. I must have done something they weren't happy with on the start line – perhaps I moved an arm – but that wasn't fully explained."

Kinghorn reveals that she was carrying a shoulder injury going into the Paralympics but chose not to make that public at the time.

"I slightly twisted my shoulder when I was weight-bearing to get in or out of bed and it became inflamed," she says. "I missed a week or so [of training] just before going out to Rio.

"It was simply less stressful to keep it quiet and not have people asking all the time: 'How's the shoulder?' If I hadn't done well, I didn't want to be making excuses. I'm not that kind of person.

"The injury maybe just took a bit out of my start so I had to play catch-up on my speed, but I felt like I gained most of it back – certainly on the 800m."

Having almost a week between her penultimate and final event allowed the inflammation time to go down and by the time Kinghorn raced in the 800m, she was raring to go. Even so, she admits her flying performance to set a European record of 1:48.89 was a surprise.

"I didn't think I was going to make the final," she says. "Ian told me to just go out and give it a shot. He said: 'Race it like it is your last race' and that's what I did. I went out there and gave it everything."

There is a fantastic photograph of Kinghorn grinning from ear-to-ear afterwards. "My smug face," she jokes. "I was looking around for Ian because I knew he would be over the moon.

"Then I finally saw him. He was jumping up and down, shouting to me: 'Four seconds! Four seconds!' That's when I did that big smile. It was nice to see that I had made him so proud."