Double gold on day one

8 Sep 2016

The ParalympicsGB swimmers claimed a total of 7 medals and two world records on the opening day of competition at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, including two gold.

It was double success for ParalympicsGB in the women’s 100m backstroke S14 as Bethany Firth defended her Paralympic title ahead of teammate Jessica-Jane Applegate in third.

County Down's Firth lowered the world record she had set in the day’s earlier heats to touch the wall first in 1:04.05.

Firth said: “I’m so chuffed about that, I could not have done it without the support back home, they’ve all been behind me. It’s not just my medal, it’s theirs as well.

“I’m quite a determined person, after breaking my wrist last year I had to come and watch the girls compete and that was hard to watch. But you can do whatever you put your mind to and I came back.

“We have a great team here and we’re all pushing each other on, we’ve already got two gold medals and I’m sure there’s more to come.”

Great Yarmouth's Applegate was third in 1:08.67 with Dutch swimmer Marlou van der Kulk splitting the British duo in second.

Earlier in the evening Ollie Hynd won the men’s 400m freestyle S8 final to clinch ParalympicsGB’s first swimming gold of Rio 2016.

Hynd lowered his own world record to touch home first in 4:21.89 and upgrade on the silver he won in London 2012.

Nova Centurion swimmer Hynd said: “I don’t think there has been a day where I have not thought about London and how disappointed I was not to get the gold so it makes it all worth it now.

“I’m so happy with the time, I wanted to go under 4:20 if I’m honest but a world record, I’m happy with that.

“I’ve worked so hard for that, I can’t wait to get on the podium and get my medal.”

Harriet Lee finished second in the 100m breaststroke SB9 final, one place better than the bronze she won at London 2012 to claim the silver medal.

Lee came home in a time of 1:16.87 to finish just over a second behind the Netherlands’ Lisa Kruger.

She said: “I just wanted to get out there. The last four years have been a struggle so to get down to this point and swim that time in that race, I feel so happy.

“I have such amazing support back home and Team Lee have been phenomenal. It is not just me, there is a network behind me that have dragged me through some difficult times so it is great to be able to share it with them.”

Stephanie Millward swam her way to a bronze medal in the 400m freestyle S8. Millward, who trains in Manchester, touched the wall third in 4:49.49 behind Australia’s Lakeisha Patterson who won in a world record time of 4:40.33.

The bronze represents Millward’s sixth Paralympic medal after four silvers and a bronze at London 2012.

She said: "Everyone is swimming really well in a really fast pool.

"It's been exciting because I've got a whole new set of competitors. I've got a few more races and I'm really excited for them."

Andrew Mullen of took to the pool in the final of the men's 200m freestyle S5 and improved on his London 2012 finishing position and claimed a bronze medal in a time of 2:40.65, behind the host nation's Daniel Dias who took gold and Roy Perkins of the USA

Jonathan Fox claimed the third Paralympics medal of his career as he finished second in the men’s 100m backstroke S7 final.

The reigning champion touched the wall in 1:10.78, narrowly behind Ukraine’s Yevheniy Bohodayko who won gold after a tight race to turn the tables on his rival from four years ago.

St Stephens' Fox, who will also be going in the 50m, 100m and 400m freestyle S7 events in Rio said:

“I’m disappointed, I’m shocked but it’s racing, you win and you lose. Unfortunately he beat me today. I just felt the last 25m get the better of me.

“I will just take it on board and go for my next event.”