Ellie Simmonds (pictured) ensured Saturday September 1 was indeed another super Saturday by smashing the S6 400m world record to claim ParalympicsGB’s second swimming gold of London 2012. In ParalympicsGB’s best day so far Britain secured five golds and moved up the medal table to third spot.
Competing in her first final of the Games, Ellie Simmonds, the 17 year old world champion was defending one of her two Paralympic titles and had qualified fastest with a European record in the morning heats.
USA’s world record holder Victoria Arlen took the race out with the Briton in tow and it soon became clear it would be a two-horse race with both swimmers way under world record pace. Arlen led for the first 350m but Simmonds was fired on by a raucous crowd and edged past her rival in the final length, touching in five minutes 19.17 seconds with the American home in 5:20.18.
The old world marker of 5:24.46 was obliterated by both swimmers and Simmonds admitted she was expecting the race to come down to the wire.
“I knew it was going to be so tough leading in to it,” said Simmonds. “I knew Victoria is on form so I knew I would have to give it absolutely everything I’ve got.
Also in the pool Claire Cashmore claimed the best Paralympic medal of her career to date as she clinched silver in the SB8 100m Breaststroke. After qualifying fastest for the final, the world silver medallist was just 0.02 seconds shy of her British record as she clocked a season’s best 1:20.39 to touch second behind Russia’s defending champion Olesya Vladykina who broke the world record with 1:17.17.
Cashmore has now won medals at three consecutive Paralympics, having won two bronzes on her debut in 2004 as well as 100m Breaststroke bronze in Beijing four years ago.
Sarah Storey won her second gold medal of the London 2012 Paralympics in the 500m Time Trial beating American 500m specialist Jennifer Schuble by almost a second.
“Sometimes when the pressure is off you do the things you least expect,” commented Storey
Natasha Baker claimed Britain’s first Equestrian gold of the London 2012 Paralympic Games at Greenwich Park by producing a record-breaking ride on her horse Cabral.
The 22 year old crowned her Games debut with a Paralympic record for her grade II class, scoring 76.857% to win the Championship test from Germans Britta Napel and Angelika Trabert, who took silver and bronze respectively.
It is Baker’s second international title after she won the European gold last year on the same horse and marks the end of a 12-year quest by the Londoner who was inspired to take up riding after watching the Sydney Paralympics on TV.
“It means absolutely everything,” she said. “From the age of 10 I said I’d come to a Paralympic Games and win a gold medal, and to come to my first Games and win a gold medal, I just never expected that in a million years.
The GB women’s Wheelchair Basketball team notched up their first win of the London 2012 Paralympic Games beating Brazil by five points after a close encounter in front of a full house on their first visit to the Basketball Arena.
After narrowly trailing the Brazilians through most of the match, Garry Peel’s side brought the weekend crowd to their feet as they recovered from four-points down in the final quarter to win 42-37.
After heavy losses to the Netherlands and Australia on the first two days of the Games, Britain’s morale boosting victory keeps alive their hopes of qualifying for Tuesday’s quarter-finals. Britain play Canada in their final group A game on Monday needing another win to guarantee their place in the knock-out matches.
Paralympic debutante Sharon Vennard booked a place in the women’s Recurve Open quarter-finals with a 6-2 victory against Mongolia’s Oyun-Erdene Buyanjargal. The 50 year old Belfast archer will play China’s no. 3 seed Huilan Yan tomorrow (Sunday) for a place in the semi-finals.
“I’m shaking like a leaf,” said Vennard. “That last arrow was probably the hardest arrow I have shot in my life.
Sportsister, The Women’s Sports Magazine
Image Credit: British Paralympic Association