• David Devine grabs bronze in the T12 1500m
Paul Blake was not the first and will not be the last, but for each the experience is mind-blowing. On Tuesday night he became the latest British athlete to be inspired to a lifetime best time in London's spine-tingling Olympic Stadium, running a supremely controlled race to take silver in the T36 400m.
Blake, who won gold at the distance in the T36 class for those with cerebral palsy at last year's world championships in New Zealand, had said before the race he wanted to make his parents proud. He surely did that, celebrating wildly as he crossed the line paid tribute to the atmosphere and the impact of the wave of support that has built up behind ParalympicsGB. "The crowd was amazing, my family have been amazing with their support, the British public have been amazing," he said. "It's like having an extra pair of legs, it's just so uplifting and the roar was massive."
Perhaps he was destined to star on the big stage. His mother, Kate, was a dancer with the Royal Ballet and his father, also called Paul, an actor who played the bounty hunter Greedo in Star Wars. Even his grandfather was a professional tennis player.
The 22-year-old, from Dorchester, was starved of blood in the womb. Given little chance of surviving, he was born with renal failure that led to cerebral palsy, spending the first three months of his life in an incubator. After trying sailing and basketball, Blake began running at his local club in Dorchester at 16 and now trains at the University of Bath.
At those world championships in New Zealand last year he also took silvers in the 800m and 1500m. Since then, he has set a world record in the longer distance.
Going into the race Blake had the second fastest time of the season, behind the Russian Evgenii Shvetcov. But he also lined up alongside the experienced Ukrainian world record holder, Roman Pavlyk.
The two eastern Europeans either side of him went off very quickly but Blake held his nerve and ran the perfect final bend. It took a world record time of 53.31sec from Shvetcov to beat the Briton, with Blake recording a lifetime best of 54.22. The 22-year-old, who admitted the Russian out-kicked him, still has the 800m and 1500m to come.
Blake's silver medal, together with a bronze for the 20-year-old David Devine in the T12 1500m, was yet more evidence of the progress made by the track and field team under the Swedish head coach, Peter Eriksson, in bringing through new talent and increasing strength in depth. Devine was also inspired by the crowd to the best performance of his life. The Liverpudlian was not given much of a chance in the T12/13 final for the visually impaired. Indeed, the stadium announcer implied he had done well merely to be there after finishing fifth in his heat. But when he led at the bell, Devine knew he had a real chance of a medal.
Despite a bloody gash on his leg from a rogue spike, Devine said he took the decision to hit the front and challenge his rivals. He finished just over a second behind the eventual winner, the Tunisian Abderrahim Zhiou, in a European record time of 3min 49.79sec.
"I only came fifth in the heat the other day, so I couldn't ask for more. I felt so comfortable behind the three people in front of me," Devine said.
David Korir, the Kenyan who finished second, had "made it easy" by giving him someone to tail, he said. Devine, who started running only three years ago, said he believed he could be the best in the world at the distance by next year. "In this race they were just better than me but I know I can go faster than them. I'm going to be training to be the fastest next year," he said. He will get another chance to savour the atmosphere in the Olympic Stadium on Wednesday night when he runs in the 800m.
If Devine's bronze medal was a surprise, sixth place for Steve Morris at the same distance in the T20 category for those with intellectual impairments had to rank as a disappointment. Morris went into the final with the best time in the world this year and the only man to run under four minutes in the class this season.
He looked to be in good shape going into the penultimate lap in fourth, with the world record-holder, Poland's Rafal Korc, on his shoulder. But as soon as the bell went he began to fall back through the field and was unable to recover. His time of 4:02.5 was significantly down on his season's best of 3.58.93 and he said the last 200m were "very hard", but vowed to come back stronger in Rio in four years' time.
Nasiri Bazanjani, the Iranian who cruised over the line seven metres ahead of the rest, also underlined the improvement in that country's performances at these Games and was greeted with lusty cheers as he received his gold.
Unlike, that is, home secretary Theresa May. She became the second cabinet minister in as many nights to suffer the indignity of boos raining down as she presented his medal.
The British women's 4 x 100m relay team had completed their lap of honour to tumultuous applause before they were confirmed as having secured bronze. Three perfect handovers were almost marred by a calamitous final baton change from Katrina Hart to Jenn McLoughlin.
But after an agonising wait the quartet were confirmed in third place in the T35-38 race in 56.98, behind medallists Russia and China. That took the total medal tally in the stadium to 16, one short of the overall total in Beijing. Ilke Wyludda, an Olympic gold medallist in the discus in 1996, was competing in her first Paralympics at the age of 43 having lost her leg last year. She finished ninth with a new personal best throw of 29.57, behind the Algerian winner Nassima Saifi.