Grey-Thompson achieves record medal haul with victory in 400m

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The Independent Online

Sixteen years after she won her first major medal, in Seoul, Tanni Grey-Thompson became Great Britain's most successful Paralympian yesterday after winning her second gold of these Games and the 11th of her long career.

Grey-Thompson, who won the 100 metres last Thursday, led the wheelchair T53m 400m final from start to finish, retaining her Sydney title in a Paralympic record time of 57.36sec and eclipsing the fencer Caz Walton, who won 10 Paralympic golds. Sweden's Madelene Nordlund took the silver yesterday while the Italian Francesca Porcellato claimed bronze.

The Welsh wheelchair racer said: "I'm lost for words. There are just so many emotions running around in my head right now. It was a great race."

The 35-year-old Grey-Thompson, who was born with spina bifida, woke up at 5am as she had to be at the Olympic Stadium at least two hours before the race.

"I was so nervous this morning because I really struggled to warm up, I just couldn't get my arms moving," she said. "But after the semi I had a great lane draw, I was so lucky to be in between Madelene Nordlund and Francesca Porcellato. Francesca got a great start and she pulled me along to a fast first 150m.

"When I got to the halfway point I still couldn't see who was around me so I just had my head down and went for it. When I crossed the finish line, I did cry and that's not unusual for me.

"I was really surprised, I was expecting it to be a lot closer. It's probably one of my best 400m races."

¿ Paralympics organisers have cancelled the artistic part of today's closing ceremony as a mark of respect following the deaths of seven Greek schoolchildren in a road accident on their way to the Olympic Stadium. The ceremony will now only entail the protocol segments such as the parade of athletes, the speech by the International Paralympic Committee president, Phil Craven, and the handover of the Paralympic flag to the Beijing organising committee.