Josef Craig disappointed despite Paralympic bronze medal – and vows to be best in world again

Josef Craig
Josef Craig

Josef Craig may have got his hands on a Paralympic bronze medal in Rio but the swimmer insists he will not be happy until he is back on the top step of the medal rostrum.

After a sixth-place finish in the men’s 400m freestyle S8 on Thursday, Jarrow ace Craig was back in the pool on Sunday for the 100m freestyle.

He progressed fastest out of his morning heat and was in second place at the half way stage of the final, only to slip back a place in the closing stages and miss out on silver by six hundredths of a second to Song Maodang with the Chinese swimmer’s teammate Wang Yinan taking the title.

Four years ago Craig walked away from London with gold in the men’s 400m freestyle S7 but since then he has had to contend with a reclassification to the S8 class after turning 18.

Now 19, Craig can call himself a double Paralympic medalist but the City of Sunderland swimmer had mixed emotions after his medal swim.

“I am a bit disappointed I got touched out to a silver medal but you know bronze and silver are not important to me,” he said.

“In four years I want to be in top spot. That is all I am aiming for, that keeps us awake at night, keeps us angry and hungry. I won’t leave this class, I won’t leave this opportunity in sport until I am the best in the world again.

“I’m just a bit disappointed that I didn’t get first, it’s what I’ve ben working on.

“You leave it all in the pool. I’ve left everything in the pool tonight just to get a medal.

“I think I’m the first person to move up classes to win a medal at consecutive games.

“It was hard. I’m not going to go into details about what I was thinking because it is not important now. I’m back on the podium now which I never thought I would be.”

Craig will go again in the 50m freestyle on Friday although his main focus is the men’s 4x100m freestyle relay 34 points where he will be hoping to help the team to gold.

“I just want to do the job for the relay on the seventh day,” he added. “That is all I care about and all I’ve said.

“I said in the week that’s the main race and the one I want to be doing the best in so I will see how I go in that.”

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