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From Charlie Bennett in Tokyo
The age-old rule that good things come in threes certainly applies to Toni Shaw, who admits 2021 is turning into the best summer of her life.
The Aberdeen swimmer passed her driving test in June, scored four As in her A Levels and on Wednesday bagged a Paralympic medal in Tokyo.
The 18-year-old’s bronze in the 400m freestyle S9 final marked Britain’s first in the pool and she did it in style with a new personal best on a dream opening day.
"It's been a really good year,” said Shaw, whose ParalympicsGB journey is supported by Sainsbury's.
“I was really nervous before but my coach calmed my nerves. I am really happy with my race, I got a personal best which I am really excited about. This is all an incredible experience.
“I know those girls are super-fast and super talented and I was just trying to hold on because they were shooting off. It was a great race and I tried my heart out.”
Shaw, who was born without a right hand, made headlines in 2018 when she was picked for Scotland’s Commonwealth Games squad at just 14 years old.
She twice finished fifth on the Gold Coast but has clearly matured since, as she pushed Australia’s gold medallist Lakeisha Patterson and Hungary’s runner-up Zsofia Konkoly all the way in an absorbing final.
Shaw trains alongside Scottish star Hannah Miley at the University of Aberdeen and insists the four-time Olympian played a major part in her medal.
“Before I came away, she gave the me the loveliest card and message of good luck and if I ever need some advice and support, she is always there,” she said.
“She has been there and done it for years and she’s such a nice friend, so it’s great to have someone like that home.”
Shaw could add to her medal count with the 100m freestyle and 100m butterfly both on her radar, before she flies home to start a business degree at the University of Stirling.
She added: “It has been incredible and I owe a lot to my friends and family back home, they have been supportive and I’m glad it’s worked out.”
Sainsbury’s is a proud supporter of ParalympicsGB and a champion of inclusive sport for all. Sainsbury’s commitment to helping customers to eat better has been at the heart of what we do since 1869. For more information on Sainsbury’s visit www.sainsburys.co.uk/ and https://paralympics.org.uk/