Paralympic Games: Paralympians outshine Team GB and strike gold on day one
GREAT Britain opened its medal count on the first day of the London Paralympic Games in spectacular fashion with a haul of five medals, including gold and a clutch of records.
It took Team GB five days to chalk up Britain’s first gold at the Olympics earlier this month, but the Paralympic team had won theirs by mid-afternoon yesterday.
Cyclist Sarah Storey raced to victory in the women’s C5 three-kilometres individual pursuit at the velodrome.
The win was Storey’s eighth Paralympic title and third as a cyclist in a sporting career she began as a 14-year-old swimmer in Barcelona in 1992.
Having won the gold, Storey completed a lap of honour, soaking up the cheers from a rapturous crowd that included the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Lord Coe.
The cyclist smiled broadly and threw her arms in the air as she was hailed by her support team.
Storey, 34, who was born without a functioning left hand, said: “I always thought that if I could get off to a great start it would set up the week and hopefully that’s the case.
“To get the gold medal is a dream come true.”
Her family were track-side to watch her victory, all wearing white T-shirts with her name and achievements on the back
Her brother Simon Bailey, 29, said. “It was just stunning. It’s hard to put it into words.
“We were jumping up and down, screaming. My wife had tears in her eyes, my mum was crying her eyes out and my dad was taking the photos, and even my little two-year-old nephew was loving it – it’s unbelievable.”
Earlier, the Mancunian had set the velodrome alight when she clocked up a Games record of three minutes and 32.170 seconds.
But Storey was not the only member of British team setting the pace at the venue yesterday.
Martin Colbourne took Team GB’s first medal of the Games – a silver in the men’s individual 1km time trial – just three years after breaking his back in a horrific paragliding accident.
Swimmer Nyree Kindred added another silver to the tally when she won Great Britain’s first medal in the pool last night, coming second in the S6 100 metres backstroke with a world record from China’s Lu Dong needed to beat the Briton at the Aquatics Centre.
Hannah Russell picked up Britain’s second silver of the session when she fought out a superb duel with Oxana Savchenko in the S12 400m freestyle.
The Briton only turned 16 recently and showed no fear on her Paralympic debut, going stroke for stroke with the Russian.
Meanwhile, swimmers Jonathan Fox and Sophie Pascoe both set new world records in their respective heats.
In judo, Britain’s double world champion and gold medal hope Ben Quilter had to settle for bronze after he was defeated by Algeria’s Mouloud Nourain in his U60kg quarter-final contest. However he kept his composure to beat Japan’s Takaaki Hirai for third place.
Britain’s performance in the dressage event yesterday also bodes well for medal glory, as Natasha Baker posted the highest score during the morning session in Grade II of the team competition despite torrential rain.
She described her morning as “best experience of my entire life”.
“I knew that I had to be calm, cool and collected and get the horse through the test, but he was so good, I am so proud of him,” she said.
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Wednesday 19 June 2013
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