London 2012 Paralympics: Ellie Simmonds beats ‘killer fatigue’ for bronze
ELLIE Simmonds, the face of Britain’s Paralympic success so far, saw her hopes of a third gold medal dashed last night, but was beaming with delight after claiming a surprise bronze in the S6 50m freestyle.
The 17-year-old Swansea-based swimmer added to her medal haul in one of her least favoured events on a day which saw Britain add 16 medals – including four golds – to stay in second place in the medals table.
The teenager, who previously claimed two titles and two world records in the SM6 200m individual medley and S6 400m freestyle events, overcame “killer” fatigue to book her spot in last night’s final, having had little sleep and feeling “really achy” following her exertions in the pool on Monday.
As well as Simmonds’ bronze, British swimmers won a raft of medals as the London Games passed their halfway point.
Heather Frederiksen, 26, won gold with a powerful performance in the S8 100 metres backstroke. It was the sixth Paralympic medal of her career, and comes eight years after an accident left her with limited use of her right arm and leg.
An ecstastic Frederiksen, from Leigh, asked afterwards: “Did that really happen? I’m so, so pleased. I really wanted that. It means more than anyone could ever know.”
Moments earlier, Oliver Hynd from Nottingham took bronze in the S8 100 metres backstroke, although Sean Fraser, 22, from Edinburgh, finished fifth in the same event.
It was the second medal of the Games for Hynd. The 17-year-old, who has neuromuscular myopathy, previously won silver in the S8 400 metres freestyle.
Stephanie Millward won silver in the women’s 400m freestyle S9 and Matt Walker picked up his 12th Paralympic medal by winning bronze in the men’s 50m freestyle S7.
There were also rapturous scenes at the Olympic Stadium as wheelchair sprinter David Weir claimed his second gold medal of the Games as he won the men’s 1500m T54. Paul Blake secured silver in the T36 400m final, while Great Britain’s women won bronze in the 4x100m T35/T38.
David Devine won bronze in the 1500m T13 with an English record of 3:49.79.
Meanwhile, in equestrian dressage Sophie Christiansen grabbed gold in the grade Ia individual freestyle test on her horse Janeiro 6 with a score of 84.750. She became the first Briton to win three golds at a single Paralympic Games.
Sophie Wells won silver in the Grade 4 freestyle dressage, her second silver of the Games.
The 22-year-old from Lincoln, a member of the gold-medal wining British dressage team, was pipped to gold by Belgium’s Michele George.
She said: “It has just been the most incredible experience. I don’t think life will ever be the same again.”
Deborah Criddle delivered Britain its tenth medal from ten opportunities in the equestrian competitions at Greenwich after winning silver in the Grade 3 freestyle dressage, taking her tally for the Games to one gold – for the team – and two silvers.
Earlier in the day, archer Danielle Brown from Steeton in West Yorkshire successfully defended her Paralympic title with a victory over teammate Mel Clarke, to take gold in a tense women’s individual compound final at the Royal Artillery Barracks.
Brown, 24, who has complex regional pain syndrome in her feet, defeated 30-year-old Clarke 6-4 in a tense final.
She said: “I’ve been feeling the pressure the last couple of weeks, so to come here and keep my head in the right place, I’m chuffed to bits about that.”
In shooting, Matt Skelhon won bronze in the mixed R6-50m Rifle prone SH1.
The British boccia mixed team of Daniel Bentley, 28, from Chelmsford, Zoe Robinson, 18, from Bury, Nigel Murray, 48, from Leamington Spa, and David Smith, 23, from Eastleigh, secured bronze in the BC1-2 category.
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