17 February 1997 |
|Club||City of Sunderland ASC|
Josef Isaac Craig, MBE (born on 17 February 1997) is a British Paralympic swimmer. Craig competes in S8 events and qualified for the 2012 Summer Paralympics, winning the gold in a world record time in the men's 400 m freestyle event.
Craig was born in Hebburn, Tyne and Wear on 17 February 1997. Craig, who has cerebral palsy, was introduced to disability swimming at the age of nine, before entering competitive swimming a few years later. Noted as a swimming talent from a young age, and ear-marked for the Great Britain team at the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, Craig's career suffered a setback when he was diagnosed with Graves' disease in 2011. The condition, which affects the thyroid gland, caused severe weight loss in Craig, but after having his thyroid removed he quickly returned to swimming. He is a supporter of Newcastle United FC.
Craig trains at the City of Sunderland Amateur Swimming Club. In 2012 he set five personal bests at the Paralympic trials for the 2012 Games in London and then won his first British medal with a bronze in the 100 m freestyle at the 2012 British Swimming Championships. Later that year, at the British International Disability Championships, he improved again on his personal best to take the youth 100 m freestyle title. In the same tournament, Craig took the gold in the men's youth 50 m, with a time of 29.95s, and the bronze in the men's open 400 m challenge.
Craig's performances in 2012 saw him selected for the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London. He was selected for four events, the 50 m freestyle, 100 m freestyle and his favoured 400 m freestyle, all in the S7 class. Craig qualified for the final of the 50 m freestyle with a time of 29.48 seconds and then shaved almost a tenth of a second from this to finish 7th. He also qualified out of the heats in the 100 m event, finishing fourth with a time of 1:04.00. In the final he ended just outside the podium position with a fourth place and a time of 1:02.20. On 6 September in his final event, the 400 m freestyle, Craig set a new world record of 4:45.79 to take the fastest qualifying position in his morning heat. In the finals that afternoon he recorded a time of 4:42.81 to beat his own world record set earlier that day, and saw him finish first to collect the gold; his first Paralympic medal, making him Great Britain's youngest 2012 gold medal winner. To commemorate his gold medal Royal Mail painted a post box gold in his hometown of Jarrow, Tyne and Wear, and produced a first class stamp featuring a picture of him. As a result of his success he was jointly awarded the North East Sports Personality of the Year award, along with Olympian rower Kat Copeland in December 2012. Then, on 16 December, Craig was made Young Sports Personality of the year for 2012 at the BBC's main annual award.
Initially classified as a S7 swimmer, Craig was reclassified in April 2014 as S8. His previous achievements continued to stand, but it meant that Craig would now compete in future events with swimmers deemed to have more mobility. His first major tournament after being reclassified was the 2014 IPC Swimming European Championships, where he claimed three bronze medals, an achievement that Craig was pleased with.
- "Paralympics 2012: Josef Craig claims 400m gold in record time". Retrieved 6 September 2012.
- "Meet the Team - Josef Craig". swimming.org. Retrieved 6 September 2012.
- "Josef Craig". paralympics.channel4.com. 15 August 2012. Retrieved 6 September 2012.
- Nightingale, Lisa (29 September 2012). "Top treat for golden boy Josef". shieldsgazette.com. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
- Scanlon, Rob. "Josef Casts A Golden Eye". nufc.co.uk. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
- Cunningham, Sam (6 September 2012). "He's done it again! Craig smashes own world record to earn gold in S7 400m final". Mail Online. Retrieved 7 September 2012.
- Pearce, Nick (6 September 2012). "Paralympics 2012: Josef Craig wins gold for Great Britain in 400m freestyle and breaks his own world record". The Telegraph. Retrieved 7 September 2012.
- "Josef Craig celebrated with gold Jarrow postbox". BBC News. 8 September 2012. Retrieved 9 September 2012.
- "Kat Copeland and Josef Craig share North East award". BBC Sport. 7 December 2012. Retrieved 19 December 2012.
- "Josef Craig wins BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year". BBC Sport. 16 December 2012. Retrieved 19 December 2012.
- "No. 60367". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 December 2012. p. 24.
- "Members of the Order of the British Empire" (PDF). gov.co.uk. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
- "Josef Craig: Classification switch was tough for Paralympic champ". BBC Sport. 14 August 2014. Retrieved 14 August 2014.