Paracyclist Sophie Unwin burst into tears after attempting to participate in her Commonwealth Games medal-giving ceremony on Saturday morning (AEST).
In a cruel twist of fate, Unwin and her pilot Georgia Holt appeared to have won bronze in the women’s tandem B sprint at the Lee Valley Velodrome – but their spot on the podium was denied due to a technical issue.
As the Aussie Jessica Gallagher and pilot Caitlin Ward took the stage to receive their gold medals, Unwin was seen in the background in the track as the hardware was handed out.
She could be seen bursting into tears before being told by security personnel to leave the ceremony.
Despite finishing third, Unwin missed out on the bronze medal as there were only four participants in the event meaning only the gold and silver medals were up for grabs. The event was initially planned to have five participants – a scenario that would have brought the bronze medal into play.
The big screen on the track also showed that Unwin had won the bronze and only later was she informed about the technicalities that cost her a place on the podium.
With Gallagher and Scotland’s Aileen McGlynn racing in the gold medal showdown, Unwin’s event against Scotland’s Libby Clegg was officially listed as the “bronze medal” event.
Unwin was even congratulated when she finished her post-race interviews before leaving for the medal ceremony where she heard the bad news.
She emerged in tears. It was a really miserable scene.
Unwin and Holt eventually returned to the arena and watched them step onto the stage alone in a mock ceremony of their own.
The pair were seen wearing bronze medals around their necks and celebrating with the English flag as the crowd gave them a loud round of applause.
The pair are reported to have borrowed the medals from the England women’s team pursuit.
News agency journalist Ian Parker reported that the England team has contacted the Commonwealth Games Federation and said the decision not to award a bronze medal should be reversed.