PONTHIR cyclist James Ball won silver at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics after being edged out by fellow Brit Neil Fachie.

Ball and pilot Lewis Stewart were in the ninth of ten heats on the track and set a blistering time of 59.503, a new Paralympic record.

But Fachie and Matt Rotherham, with the pressure on and the gold on the line, were able to go even faster in the final heat, their time of 58.038 seconds beating Fachie’s own world record.

“It means everything,” said Ball. “No-one really remembers the time, they just remember the result, but it’s an important day for me. I’m very, very happy with my silver medal.

“We trained hard these past 18 months, and it’s great to get a result like we did.”

Ball believes training and working closely with Fachie and Rotherham helped raise standards.

“They beat us in training, we beat them in training, so it’s nice to just bounce off them,” he said.

“I don’t think anybody could have called it today, so we’re proud of them, and they’re proud of us.”

“We thought we’d have to beat the world record to win gold,” said Fachie, whose wife Lora then won gold with Corrine Hall in the women’s B 3000m individual pursuit.

“All the talk has been about breaking the 59 second barrier and we nearly beat the 58 second barrier. It was phenomenal.

“We knew today was going to be a massive day for the team. We were the first medal so we knew we had to deliver. We did it and saw our team-mates get silver then to watch my wife get gold was unreal. Then the team sprint as well … wow, we’ll never forget this.”

It is visually-impaired Ball's first Paralympic medal to go along with a raft of World Championships honours, including three golds, and a pair of Commonwealth Games silvers.