Paralympic Games: Cyclist Sarah Storey poised to equal record 11 golds
CYCLING champion Sarah Storey stood on the verge of equalling the record gold-medal haul by a single British Paralympian last night, after securing her third title of London 2012, while hand-cyclist Karen Darke from Inverness claimed silver in her debut Games.
Storey, 34, joined the illustrious triple-gold club at the Paralympics with her victory in the women’s C5 time-trial at Brands Hatch, and if she wins her road race today, she would equal Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson’s eight-year-old record of 11 golds.
The Mancunian, who was born without a functioning left hand, said it was a “great feeling” to take her career gold tally into double figures, revealing how she was inspired by the British cycling team’s success during the Olympics.
Her gold was one of the highlights on day seven of the Games, where Britain added six more medals to its total and David Weir romped into tonight’s final of the T54 800m, keeping alive his dream of a quadruple gold sweep.
Remarkably, half Storey’s ten golds were secured in her previous discipline of swimming. An ear infection ended her career in the pool, but she is now tipped to win her sixth gold in cycling.
Asked about the prospect of equalling Lady Grey-Thompson’s record, she said: “It is fantastic, a great feeling. I didn’t expect to be able to catch her as quickly. I suppose it did look easy, but mentally you have to prepare and make it happen.”
After her win – almost 20 years to the day since she took her first Paralympic title in the pool in Barcelona – she wrapped herself in a Union flag and went to hug her husband, Barney.
Paying tribute to the former sprint cyclist and her team, she added: “He’s worked so hard with me this summer and over the last four years since Beijing to make my position better, to make my power better.”
Storey also told how she was inspired by the success of Team GB at the Olympics. She said: “Having watched the Olympic team on the road, I just wanted to make sure I added my name to that list of success.
“I just can’t believe it. I really needed to nail this one here today.”
Darke, a 41-year-old former geologist who was left paralysed from the chest down by a cliff fall 20 years ago, came second in the women’s individual H1-2 time trial.
The Halifax-born althlete, who has travelled the length of Japan on her handcycle, said: “I’m really happy. I secretly hoped I could get a gold, but it’s a really, really good result for me. When you’re out there, I wasn’t feeling the pain, I was in the zone and just getting on with it.”
At the Aquatics Centre, Oliver Hynd, 17, secured Britain’s second gold of the day in the SM8 200m individual medley.
Hynd, from Nottingham said: “I don’t believe it – it’s amazing. When I touched, I didn’t really want to believe it. I thought, ‘It can’t be right’, but I’m Paralympic champion and I’m over the moon. This has just been amazing.”
Further cycling success came in the men’s C1 time trial when Mark Colbourne, 42, from Tredegar in Wales, won silver, the third medal of his first Games.
In the wheelchair tennis event, there was silver for Andy Lapthorne, 21, from London, and Peter Norfolk, 51, from Middlesex, while earlier in the morning, David Weir scorched through his heat for tonight’s final of the T54 800m. The 33-year-old, already the 5,000m and 1,500m champion, was back on the track less than 13 hours after winning his second title of London 2012.
Britain’s sailors, meanwhile, are guaranteed at least a silver and a bronze as they head into the final day of competition today.
Helena Lucas, the only woman in the class, is guaranteed at least a silver in the 2.4mR one-person keelboat class. The 37-year-old from Redhill is in gold-medal position with a nine-point advantage over German Heiko Kroger, with one race to come.
Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell are also guaranteed at least a bronze medal in the Skud two-person class, sitting third as they go into their final race.
Scots Jonathan Paterson, James Richmond, Craig Connell and Blair Glynn helped the GB seven-a-side football team to a 4-2 victory over the US in their preliminary pool match, while Scott McCowan, 21, from Dundonald, booked a place in today’s last 16 of the BC3 mixed individual boccia with an 11-0 win.
Stef Reid, 27 – who won silver in the long jump – qualified for tonight’s final of the women’s 200m T44.
Although she was born in Auckland, her father is Glaswegian and she hopes to represent Scotland in 2014.
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Thursday 23 May 2013
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