Maguire looking to the future after rollercoaster week ends with gold in Berlin

Maguire (second left) was competing at his first European Championships. Pic: Ben Booth Photography

Three bronze medals, one disqualification and one relay later, Nathan Maguire finally got his hands on World Para Athletics European Championship gold in Berlin.

In a week that has ebbed and flowed with regularity for the Chester wheelchair racer, the best was saved until last for the 21-year-old with a maiden European title to his name.

That came in Sunday’s 4x100m universal relay, joining forces with Zac Shaw, Laura Sugar and Sophie Hahn as Britain secured their 50th medal and 20th gold of the week.

Two male and two female athlete nations compete in the new universal event, featuring a mixture of disabilities from visual to leg impairments, those with cerebral palsy as well as wheelchair racers.

“When I got the changeover tap, I knew I was going to get this. I saw someone but I was just leaving him, I powered down the home straight and didn’t even look back,” said Maguire, who led home the team in the anchor leg.

“That was for the team, I knew that they had all done their bit and it was now down to me, that’s the hard bit because I was the last to go and I wanted to win it for everyone and not just for myself.

“To share the gold is amazing, I’m on the podium with the rest of my team – there were nine of us in this team and it’s great to be able to go out and celebrate that as a group.

“It’s part of the fun, athletics is an individual sport but the fact that we’ve got a team aspect to it is really great fun.

“We’re learning about different disabilities as well, when we’re in training we’re learning about the changeovers, what other people can see and can do with their blades and impairment and that’s really great as well.”

Maguire has now accounted for four of the half-century tally with three individual bronzes to his name, a haul which could have been for had be not been disqualified for a lane infringement in the T54 400m.

Not bad for a racer who simply wanted to prove he belonged at European level.

“This week is the first time I have ever medalled at a major event,” said Maguire, who is paraplegic after an illness contracted at a young age.

“It will give me a lot of confidence going into World Championships next year, knowing that I do belong here – if you’re always coming fifth, sixth or seventh, you get it in your head that that is where you are meant to finish.

“This will give me the little bit of confidence that I need to show I can do it. I’ve proven something to myself, for sure.

British Athletics works alongside UK Sport and the National Lottery to support the delivery of success at the world’s most significant sporting events, principally the Olympic and Paralympic Games. They do this via the funded initiative, the World Class Programme, one part of the British Athletics pathway.