Spirited Kindred is in seventh heaven!

Date published: 13 September 2016

SASCHA Kindred dug deep for one final time at a Paralympics, winning a seventh gold and 13th medal at his sixth Games in Rio.

The 38-year-old former Kaskenmoor School pupil was reinstated to last night's SM6 200 metres individual medley final after his disqualification was overturned on appeal.

And he responded by winning in a world record of two minutes 38.47 seconds to reclaim the gold medal in the event, which he first won in Sydney 16 years ago.

He also won it in Athens and Beijing, but was bitterly disappointed with silver in London four years ago.

Kindred said: "Thirteen is my lucky number. I was born on the 13th (of December, 1978), my mum was born on the 13th as well.

"And seven's a special number for me as well. I'm a big (Manchester) United fan, a lot of famous number sevens. Seven is special.

"I'm 38 years old. To be able to achieve that, the hard work has paid off.

"Swimming can be a very lonely sport, early mornings, counting tiles at the bottom of a pool.

"But the dedication and the commitment of myself and the team around me have put in... this is what the hard work is for.

"I knew I had a performance in me. It was just a case of putting it all together."

To win in his final Paralympic swim was special, too.

It was not straightforward, though, and he was made to wait to receive his medal as Colombia's Nelson Crispin Corzo appealed against his disqualification, delaying the presentation.

Kindred was disqualified yesterday morning for a "technical infringement" after his heat swim.

But British Swimming successfully appealed against the claim he had kicked with alternate legs on the butterfly length, using its own footage which showed the discrepancy was due to Kindred's cerebral palsy and there was no real benefit.

Kindred, who paid tribute to his long-time coach Emma Patrick and the British Swimming support staff, added: "I didn't feel like I deserved the disqualification.

"It gave me that extra motivation to finish on a high.

"It's my last Paralympic race. I may do worlds next year, but not Tokyo.

"I've got problems with my back and need to have an operation. I don't think my body can cope training for four years again.

"I'm not Steve Redgrave - I won't say 'kill me if you see me in the pool' - but 99 per cent sure I won't be in Tokyo."

Kindred has been a cornerstone of the team for 20 years, having made his Paralympic debut in 1996.

He added: "In Atlanta there were 2,000 athletes and about seven people in the crowd. To London - amazing. To this - loads of negativity about this. Rio has been so good and it's been a party atmosphere."

He used the atmosphere to his advantage, seizing on the partisan support for Brazilian rival Talisson Glock.

He added: "The noise when he came out before me - I tried to have that noise for myself and say 'that's for me'."