Paralympic Games: Jonathan Fox holds off charging Ukrainian to take gold
JONATHAN Fox became Great Britain’s first Paralympic champion in the pool at London 2012 after he won a thrilling S7 100 metres backstroke race at the Aquatics Centre last night.
The 21-year-old had lowered his own world record yesterday morning in the heats, dipping under one minute, ten seconds for the first time. Effectively, the race was a duel between Fox and Yevheniy Bohodayko with the Briton appearing to have sealed victory by the 75m mark. However, the Ukrainian came back with every stroke, but Fox held him off to touch in one minute, 10.46 seconds to upgrade his silver medal from Beijing.
Fox said: “It was a good time. I thought I was going to pip the world record again. I am very happy I got a gold medal.”
Scotland’s Sean Fraser was sixth in the S8 100m butterfly. Fraser admitted he paid the price for his enthusiasm as he made a solid, if unspectacular, start to his Paralympic campaign. Fraser is competing in five events and is seeking to upgrade his Beijing bronze and improve his medal haul. But he admitted the 100m butterfly was never a key target.
“I don’t tend to focus too much on the butterfly, although you always want more,” he said, after clocking 1:05.95, just outside his personal best, to finish well down on gold medallist Charles Rozoy.
“It’s a good start to the meet and I’m feeling in really good shape and pretty confident about the events to come. You can’t complain with being sixth in the world, but there won’t be any complacency.
“I don’t race again until Sunday, so I’ve got time to talk with my coach and look at some videos. I probably got a bit carried away by the occasion and went out too fast because I started to die on the last length and the final 25 metres was very painful.”
Fraser’s main individual aim is the 100m backstroke, in which he won bronze four years ago, but he also likes Great Britain’s chances in the relay. “Things have been going great in training, I love being with those guys and after finishing fifth in Beijing we know we can challenge the best in the world,” he added.
Andrew Mullen was satisfied with his first action after reaching the final of the 50m freestyle, where he finished a distant eighth in a race won by four-times Paralympic champion Daniel Dias. Mullen’s target is his signature 50m butterfly and he will also compete in the 50m backstroke.
“I didn’t really expect to qualify,” he admitted, after clocking a 37.40 second personal best in the heats.
“The freestyle gave me a really good opportunity to experience what the crowd is like so when I swim the fly and the back I don’t get too nervous. The hairs on the back of my neck were standing up, it was awesome and I’ve never experienced anything like it.”
• Bank of Scotland, proud supporter of ParalympicsGB and proud partner of the London 2012 Paralympic Games. Get closer to the Games at bankofscotland.co.uk/London2012
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