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Paralympic Games: Josie Pearson sets three world records for discus gold

  • by GUY ASPIN
 

Josie Pearson, who broke her neck in car accident aged 17, set three new world records to take Great Britain’s gold medal haul at the Olympic Stadium into double figures by winning the discus title yesterday.

The 26-year-old had to give up wheelchair racing after being told the risk of further injury was too great and only took up throwing 18 months ago.

But the Bristol-born athlete launched the disc out to 6.38, 6.54 and then 6.58 metres with her first three throws of the competition, extending the F51 record on each occasion.

With the competition also including F52 and 53 athletes, the distances were converted into points, with Pearson’s 1122 putting her 242 clear of the rest of the field.

Such was her dominance, any of her six throws would have been good enough to win gold.

Pearson, who played wheelchair rugby four years ago at the Beijing Paralympics, has thrown 6.66m this summer, but the distance was not ratified and so ineligible for the record books.

Ireland’s Catherine O’Neill won silver with a throw of 5.66m for 880 points.

Pearson, who was told to give up wheelchair racing earlier this year because of a cyst that had developed on her spine, said: “I can’t quite put into words how I’m feeling at the moment. I am absolutely ecstatic.

“In training I was consistently throwing over the world record so I knew it was a definite possibility that I could do it. To get that first throw and break the world record was such a relief. I was able to relax and then my next two throws were even better. I think I thrive on pressure.”

Pearson was a promising show jumper at the time of the car crash in 2003, in which her boyfriend died and she was left paralysed.

She added: “I was inspired by watching Athens a year after my accident. At that point, we didn’t know London was hosting the Games, but that inspired me to get back into sport and to be the best that I can be.

“I can’t wait to see the golden postbox [in her hometown of Hay-on-Wye] and my stamp.”

 

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