ALTHOUGH his dad wasn’t there to see him clinch his gold medal in Rio, Hampshire swimmer Mikey Jones made sure his father was still close to him.

The up and coming S7 swimmer secured a sparkling GB one-two with compatriot Jon Fox in the 400m freestyle.

But it was a particularly poignant moment for the 22-year-old who was making his international debut in Rio just seven weeks after the death of his father following a long illness.

Before he died, Bernard Jones allowed his wife Shirley to cut two locks of his hair that she and Mikey could take to Brazil.

Shirley said: “Five days before Bernard died, I asked him if I could cut off two locks of hair in case he didn’t make it until Rio.

“He told me to make sure I took enough.

“It’s a shame, but at least he knew he would be with us in Rio.”

Golden boy Jones, who has cerebral palsy, started out with New Milton Torpedoes and then Seagulls after they merged before winning a swimming scholarship to Mount Kelly in Devon.

A former Ballard School pupil, he attended Loughborough University and was fast-tracked to the National Performance Centre for elite swimmers in Manchester in preparation for Rio.

He turned down a place on the parasailing squad to concentrate on swimming.

His career was interrupted by three major operations in 2012 and he was selected for this year’s European Championships but withdrew due to injury.

Nevertheless, Jones headed to Rio ranked number one in the world in the 400m freestyle.

He touched for gold in four minutes 45.78 seconds – over 12 seconds faster than his heat swim.

“I never imagined this, it was a great race,” smiled Jones.

“It was another personal best so it’s phenomenal.

"I worked hard, moved to Manchester with the support of my parents and I’ve been trying to push on.

“My dad passed away with 58 days to go to Rio so that race was as much for him as me.

“It’s not been an easy build into the meet because of that.

"It was hard to take initially but he has supported me for all these years and he would have wanted me to have swum my best.”