2012 Paralympic Games: Mixed day for the West, but Team GB fly up medal table
On a day that threatened to be overshadowed by the row ignited by Oscar Pistorius over “unfair” advantages of prosthetic limbs, it said a lot for the achievements of the athletes – and the South African sprinter’s later apology – that it was thrust firmly to the back of the nation’s minds.
Ellie Simonds won a second gold medal in the 200m individual medley, smashing her own world record, and following a heat in which she was 10 seconds faster than the next qualifier, and Bath’s Liz Johnson made it through in fourth place, though came sixth in the final.
At Greenwich, dressage golden girl Natasha Baker built on her earlier success in the Grade II individual to take another win in the Grade II freestyle class with a Paralympic record score. But there was also upset for veterean Paralympian Lee Pearson, who won silver – the first time he has been beaten in any Games.
Paul Davies added to the tally later in the day with bronze in table tennis, taking ParalympicsGB well ahead of schedule in the targeted medal tally of 103 – having smashed through the half-way point after just four days.
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But it was a mixed day for the West’s athletes, with Jonathan Fox, who was first spotted at a disabled swimming club in Cheddar and trained at Millfield, coming fifth in last night’s final of the 100m S7 freestyle, though the swimmer, who lives in Cornwall, said he was “really, really happy”.
But their was better news for Sascha Kindred, who won silver in the men’s 200m individual medley SM6, though it meant the Herefordshire swimmer missed out on his fourth gold.
Mr Kindred. who has won 11 medals since making his debut in Atlanta in 1996, said: “It’s not the colour I wanted, but a new European record and a new PB.
“Hats off the Chinese guy, he came out and performed. There’s a lot of support here – I can see my daughter, it’s great to look up and see her.”
Lucy Shuker, who plays her tennis at the Blackbrook Tennis Centre in Taunton, will today play Jiske Griffioen of the Netherlands in the quarter-final of the women’s wheelchair tennis, having outplayed Emmy Kaiser of the US in straight sets, 6-2, 6-0.
Also still in competition are the British sailors at the sailing venue in Weymouth. Helena Lucas sits top of the 2.4mR standings after recording two victories and is favourite for gold, though she will not be taking anything for granted, especially having seen Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson agonisingly denied Star gold in the Olympics.
“I couldn’t have asked for more than that today, I’m just really, really pleased,” she said.“But I’m absolutely not thinking about where that has left me.”
Germany’s Heiko Kroger is Lucas’ nearest rival, while Thierry Schmitter of Holland and Frenchman Damien Seguin are also in the chasing pack.
Great Britain are also faring well in the SKUD class, with Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell second after six races.
The Sonar team of John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Steve Thomas, all of whom live locally, lie seventh in the standings after yesterday scoring a fourth and 13th, although the latter result is discard.
While only four points off a podium spot, they are way behind the Dutch leaders.
Great Britain’s 7-a-side football team, which includes Bristol-based pair Ibrahima Diallo and Martin Sinclair were soundly beaten 7-1 by Ukraine, meaning they miss out on a spot in the semi-final after a 3-0 loss to Brazil.