Russell, 16, finds inspiration from 'gutsy' Adlington to win 400m silver
Teenager produces personal best to yield to rival only in final 50 yards of freestyle event
The Aquatics Centre
Friday 31 August 2012
British success has not come easy in the London Aquatics Centre this summer, and it is to perhaps the hardest-earned of those rare Olympic moments that Hannah Russell turned to find her inspiration to claim a silver medal on her Paralympic debut last night.
Russell, who turned 16 only three weeks ago, featured in the opening night race in the pool, duelling for length after length over 400m with Oxana Savchenko before the Russian edged clear in the final moments.
It was in the 400m freestyle that Rebecca Adlington won the first of her two bronze medals in the Olympics, digging in to make the podium with bloody-minded determination after a terrible heat swim had appeared to end her medal chances.
"For her to come back and perform that really gutsy swim – that's what inspires me," said Russell. "She came back and really gave it her all. When she wants it that much she won't let anything hold her back."
Russell, who is visually impaired, is clearly a young women who likes a challenge – she is learning the bagpipes in between swimming and school (her grandparents are Scottish) – and has the potential to follow Adlington on to the top of the podium.
Yesterday she took six seconds off her personal best and will challenge for more medals in the days to come, with four more races on her busy programme. For a time it seemed as if she might take gold, overtaking Savchenko at 250m, but the Russian responded over the final 50m.
"To come away with a medal is the cherry on the top," she said. "I couldn't believe it. The roar of the crowd was amazing and it helped push me to my limit. I had no idea [how close the race was]. I tried to just give it my all and keep my head down and keep going as hard as I could to the finish.
"I just wanted to come here and PB and try to make as many finals as possible. After my heat I felt really good, it was a really fast heat for me. I thought after I could try and give it my best again and try and see if I could shave off any more seconds."
There was disappointment for Susie Rodgers who finished sixth in the S7 100m backstroke but has her stronger events ahead. Sean Fraser also came sixth, in the S8 100m butterfly.
Steph Millward and Claire Cashmore were fifth and eighth respectively in the S9 100m butterfly while Harriet Lee and Gemma Almond were seventh and eighth in the SM10 200m individual medley, a race in which Sophie Pascoe of New Zealand lowered her own world record for the second time in the day.
Petr Cech demands talks over Chelsea future as Thibaut Courtois begs him to stay – as mentor
Angel Di Maria: Manchester United to push ahead with £50m move for Real Madrid winger
Marcos Rojo to Manchester United: Sporting Lisbon confirm deal with Nani heading back to Portugal on loan
Arsenal player ratings vs Besiktas
Besiktas vs Arsenal player ratings: Alexis Sanchez, Jack Wilshere, Calum Chambers - who was the Gunners star man?
- 1 Michael Brown shooting: Amnesty International sends team within US for first time as National Guard deployed
- 2 James Foley 'beheaded': Isis video shows militant with British accent 'execute US journalist' – and warns Obama of more to come
- 3 Reading Festival 2014: Tesco branch replaces salad and potatoes for Jagermesiter and vodka
- 4 Here’s the damning letter Robin Williams wrote to his Mrs Doubtfire co-star's principal after they expelled her
- 5 Ferguson protests: 90-year-old Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein ‘arrested’ by police during St Louis demonstrations
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Crisis? What crisis? A visiting US doctor gives the NHS a rave review
Ukip MEP calls for reintroduction of death penalty on fiftieth anniversary of last deaths
Russell Brand calls for Israel boycott: Comedian urges big businesses that 'facilitate the oppression of people in Gaza' to pull funding
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK