England para-cyclist Sophie Unwin was left in tears after being told she would not get a bronze medal for finishing third in the women’s tandem B sprint at the Commonwealth Games.
Unwin, piloted by Georgia Holt, beat Scotland’s former Paralympic runner Libby Clegg, piloted by Jenny Holl, for third place in the event and initial results showed the 28-year-old had won bronze.
Five teams had originally entered the event but only four took to the start, which meant that under competition rules only the gold and silver medals would be awarded.
However, it appears that was not properly communicated, with big screens in the velodrome advertising Unwin’s ride against Clegg as a bronze medal race, and Unwin appearing on the Commonwealth Games website as a bronze medal winner following the win.
Unwin and Holt – who won Paralympic road race silver and individual pursuit bronze in Tokyo and also have a world title – were told to cut short their post-race interviews in order to go to the podium, but then emerged in tears after finding out they were not eligible to receive a medal.
As Australia’s gold medallist Jessica Gallagher and Scotland’s silver medallist Aileen McGlynn made their way to the podium, Unwin and Holt stood behind it draped in an England flag before being asked to move by a member of the security staff.
The two riders later reappeared and climbed on to the podium with what were understood to be borrowed medals in order to pose for photographs.
Team England have made representations to the Commonwealth Games Federation regarding the matter, arguing the decision goes against the goal of greater inclusion in the Games.