Tandem pair strike gold at record pace

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The Independent Online

Aileen McGlynn and her pilot Ellen Hunter, who was told she would never cycle again after breaking her back in an accident last summer, made it a golden first day for Britain at the Paralympic Games in Athens when they broke the world record to win the women's B1-3 tandem time trial.

Aileen McGlynn and her pilot Ellen Hunter, who was told she would never cycle again after breaking her back in an accident last summer, made it a golden first day for Britain at the Paralympic Games in Athens when they broke the world record to win the women's B1-3 tandem time trial.

Britain had never before won a cycling gold medal at the Paralympics, but having won one, Darren Kenny followed up with another in the men's CP 3-4 1km time-trial.

The victory for McGlynn and Hunter on their Games debut was timely, offsetting the disappointment of Britain's 51-48 defeat by Italy, the European champions, in the wheelchair basketball and Di Coates's failure to win an expected shooting medal.

It was a remarkable and stylish performance from McGlynn and Hunter, who clocked 1min 11.160sec to beat 13 competitors and lower by 0.767sec the world record set by Sarnya Parker and Tania Modra, of Australia, four years ago at the Sydney Paralympic Games. Karissa Whitsell and Kate Compton, of the United States, took silver and Australia's Lindy Hou and Janelle Lindsay the bronze.

Hunter had plenty to celebrate after her remarkable recovery from her accident. She said: "I was told I would never cycle again but I have proved them wrong. I've come here and won a gold medal. I hope the consultant is listening."

McGlynn, a 31-year-old who is visually impaired, works full-time as a trainee actuary and commutes from Edinburgh to Manchester to train. She was in a state of shock as she said: "I still feel like it's a dream, it's yet to sink in and become reality."

Kenny, a 34-year-old from Bournemouth, also set a world record to claim gold, clocking 1:14.472. He could hardly believe it either. "That was the fastest I have ever gone - it was just fantastic! It brings to a head two and a half years of hard work," he said.

Coates, one of Britain's most experienced Paralympic competitors, who won a bronze medal in 2000, was stunned for an altogether different reason after finishing seventh in the final of the air-rifle 10m standing competition. "I'm very disappointed. I tried my best but it wasn't my day. I was very nervous; it seems that the older you get the worse it gets," the hospital worker said.

Great Britain has a team of 166 athletes in Athens, competing in 15 sports.

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