GB youngster stuns the Water Cube
Monday 08 September 2008
Great Britain’s youngest Paralympian Eleanor Simmonds sent a shockwave through the National Aquatics Centre with a stunning and inspirational victory in here today. The 13-year-old's sensational performance was the catalyst for a successful evening at the Water Cube, with David Roberts taking gold, Heather Frederiksen and Louise Watkin silver and Matt Walker bronze.
Anthony Kappes and tandem pilot rider Barney Storey had earlier won Britain's fourth cycling gold of the Games at the Laoshan Velodrome. The athletics team also weighed in with silver medals for Shelly Woods and Chris Martin on the first day of competition at the Bird's Nest Stadium. Britain lie in third place in the medal table behind hosts China and the United States at the end of day two with seven golds, five silvers and three bronze.
Simmonds timed her finish to perfection in the women's S6 100 metres freestyle to win in one minute 18.75 seconds and become the youngest individual British Paralympic champion of all time. Simmonds, who was born in Walsall but competes for Swansea, forecast a medal on Sunday night - but she predicted the wrong colour.
"I had a dream about it, but I only came second," she said after beating world record holder Doramitzi Gonzalez of Mexico into third place. Simmonds, who will be 14 in November and has Achondroplasia (dwarfism), broke her own British record in securing victory - and her best event is yet to come. She is the world record holder in the S6 400m freestyle, which takes place on Sunday, after setting the mark in the British Championships earlier this year.
Roberts then successfully began his bid to overtake Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson as Britain's most successful Paralympian ever with victory in the men's S7 100m freestyle. The 28-year-old from Pontypridd, who has cerebral palsy, lowered his own Paralympic record to 1min 00.35secs to triumph, while Walker was third. It was Roberts' third successive gold in the event and his eighth overall.
Frederiksen was second in the women's S8 100m freestyle and Watkin finished behind South African Natalie du Toit in the women's S9 100m freestyle.
Kappes and Storey secured Britain's fourth cycling gold medal, powering to victory in the men's B&VI one-kilometre time trial at the Laoshan Velodrome in a world record of 1:02.864.
Kappes, who is partially sighted, was thrilled to add the Paralympic title to his World Championship and Paralympic World Cup wins. "We follow the model
of the able-bodied lads," the 35-year-old said. "What they do, we try to do. We have to emulate them and I'm glad on this occasion we did. To be honest, technically it was not superb, it could have been better, but we'll take it."
Oscar Pistorius began his bid to win three gold medals, clocking the fastest time in heats of the 100 meters. The South African, who failed in an attempt to qualify for the Beijing Olympics, ran a personal-best time of 11.16 seconds in the sprint. The next best times went to three Americans: Jerome Singleton (11.48), Brian Frasure (11.49) and Marlon Shirley (11.77).
Pistorius will also run the 200 and 400, hoping to better his performance four years ago in the Athens Paralympics where he won a gold and bronze.
The double amputee, known as the "Blade Runner" because of the prosthetic legs he races on, won a legal battle in May for the right to run in the Olympics. However, subsequently he failed to meet the qualifying time standard.
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