Britain’s Paralympic athletes celebrated their most successful medal day to date on the third day of the Games, racking up sixteen medals with just under a third of them gold. The gold medal glory began, yet again, in the Velodrome, where Neil Barney and pilot Barney Storey smashed the world record in the Men’s Individual B 1km Time Trial to top the podium. Visions of a GB Gold/Silver finish were shattered, however, when Beijing gold medalist Anthony Kappes found himself disqualified following two mechanical faults during race starts.
Veritable Paralympic legend Sarah Storey sped to her second gold of the Games in the Women’s individual C4-5 500m time trial, taking her total tally to a stunning twenty medals, nine of them gold. That was all the cyclists could muster in the way of golds for the day, but Jon-Allan Butterworth secured the silver in the men’s individual C5 pursuit, breaking a world record when qualifying. Jody Cundy took bronze in the C4 version of the event, an achievement which went some way towards soothing the bitter disappointment of disqualification in the individual C4/C5 1km time trial the previous day.
More medal success was to follow in judo…
There was more success to come in the Olympic Stadium, with the talismanic Richard Whitehead kicking off the medal-winning in the Men’s 200m T42. The double amputee appeared to make a bad start, a typical feature of his races because of the nature of his prosthetic limbs. But as he rounded the bend for the final stage of the race, Whitehead tore away from his fellow athletes in magnificent fashion and powered over the line to clinch both the gold medal and the world record. There was even a quick flex of the biceps as he finished, a gestured he later revealed to be a nod to inspirational cyclist Chris Hoy. Three bronzes rounded off GB’s athletics triumphs for the day, all coming from different throwing events. Gemma Prescott managed 1015 points to finish third in the women’s club throw F31/32/51 final, while Robin Womack also managed a podium finish in the nen’s shot put F54/55/56 final. Discus thrower Clare Williams triumphed in the F11/F12 event to complete the athletics haul.
There was another gold in the equestrian events, but not from the overwhelming GB favourite Lee Pearson. The veteran rider had been hoping to win a record tenth consecutive gold in his individual dressage event, but had to settle for silver. Instead, it was his fellow rider and Paralympian debutante Natasha Baker who topped the podium with a record score of 76.857%. More medal success was to follow in judo, as Sam Ingram battled his way to silver in the men’s -90kg, although his brother Joe Ingram couldn’t make it onto the podium in the -100kg category. GB picked up another silver and bronze in the day’s shooting events, where Matt Skelhon finished second in the mixed R3-10m air rifle prone-SH1 and James Bevis shot his way to bronze in the final of the mixed R5-10m air rifle prone-SH2.
…breaking down in sobs in the pool and in her subsequent post-race interview.
Britain’s swimmers played their part in the medal glory, with a silver medal from Claire Casmore in the Women’s 100 metres breaststroke SB8 and bronze for Matt Whorwood in the Men’s 400m freestyle S6. And it was undoubtedly the Aquatic Centre which played host to the most emotional moment of the day, when Ellie Simmonds took to the pool for the Women’s 400m freestyle S6. The Beijing champion swam with imperious confidence to claim the gold set a new world record, before breaking down in sobs in the pool and in her subsequent post-race interview.
The day’s cluster of medals left GB in the top three in the medal table, behindAustraliaandChina. And with a host of swimming and athletics medals to be won in the coming days, second-placedAustraliamay well be monitoringBritain’s progress rather anxiously.