Paralympics 2021 - 'I had a 5% chance of living' - remarkable Andrew Small wins gold in T33 100 metres
Small bettered the bronze medal he brought home from Rio de Janeiro five years ago to take a thrilling victory ahead of Ahmed Al-Mutairi of Kuwait. Small suffered nerve damage after being born weighing just one pound and six ounces, and counts teammates David Weir and Hannah Cockroft as inspirations.
Andrew Small of Team Great Britain reacts after winning the gold medal in the men's 100m - T33 final on day 6 of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games at Olympic Stadium
"I've got to pinch myself sometimes," said Small after claiming victory.
"I was born in 1993, I weighed one pound, six ounces. I had a 5% chance of living.
To get here is crazy."
The 28-year-old had taken bronze behind a then untouchable Al Mutairi and compatriot Toby Gold in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
Gold medalist Andrew Small of Team Great Britain and silver medalist Ahmed Almutairi of Team Kuwait cross the finish line in the men's 100m - T33 final on day 6 of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games at Olympic Stadium
Image credit: Getty Images
The T33 classification is for track athletes who compete in a seated position with cerebral palsy or other neurological conditions that affect muscle coordination and control.
Small is impaired by nerve damage that affects him both physically and neurogically, and was inspired by a pair of now teammates.
"To watch London 2012, be inspired by David Weir and Hannah Cockroft, and then be in Rio four years later was a little strange," explained Small.
"It's the same with this, especially considering the Games weren't supposed to happen."
Six-time Paralympic champion Weir advanced from the second heat of the men's T54 1500 metres to reach the final of the event, along with fellow Team GB competitor Daniel Sidbury.
Weir is preparing to bring his illustrious career on the track to a close at the conclusion of these Paralympics.
He struggled in his T54 5,000m heat, finishing last, but has been targeting both the 1,500m, which concludes on Tuesday 31 August and the marathon, which closes the Games on Sunday 5 September.