It wasn’t quite the golden explosion of the previous day, but three golds and a handful of other medals on the fifth day of the Paralympics strengthenedGreat Britain’s bid to finish second in the table.
It was a relatively sedate morning by GB standards, although the Equestrian team did notch up yet another gold thanks to Paralympic first-timer Natasha Baker in the II category. Having already stormed to gold and a new Paralympic record in the Individual Championship Test, she managed exactly the same achievement in the Individual Freestyle Test.
Pearson had won three golds at every Paralympic Games since Sydney…
Table Tennis veteran Paul Davies was the only other medal winner of the morning. The Welshman, who was making his first ever Paralympics appearance, topped off over 20 years of training with a well-deserved medal, claiming bronze after a tense match against South Korea’s Lee Chung-Ho in the Men’s Singles Class 1.
It was bronze for equestrian legend Lee Pearson too, although his reaction will have been one of disappointment rather than elation. Pearson had won three golds at every Paralympic Games since Sydney, but has failed to pull off the same feat in London. Nevertheless, his latest medal in the Individual Freestyle Ia does bring his personal Paralympic medal total to an impressive twelve.
…a highly impressive European record-breaking…
Britain’s athletics stars could only manage on medal in the day’s finals, but it was seized in style by wheelchair racer Mickey Bushell. The Beijingsilver medallist set a new Paralympic record as he pulled away from the pack with several metres to go and secured the gold, GB’s 19th of the games. It was a magnificent moment for the 22year old, who now stands alongside his hero David Weir as a London 2012 Paralympic champion.
It was up to Britain’s swimmers to win the other half of GB’s medals, with GB stars including Sascha Kindred and Ellie Simmonds in action at the Aquatics Centre. There was heartbreak for Bejing gold medallist Kindred as he failed to defend his title in the men’s 200m individual medley SM6. Despite producing a highly impressive European record-breaking swimChina’s Qing Xu proved too formidable an opponent, storming to Gold in world record time.
The quartet came agonisingly close to silver…
Better news for poster girl Ellie Simmonds though, who managed her second gold medal of the Paralympics in the Women’s 200m Individual Medley final, setting a stunning new world record of 3:05:39 in the process. Teammate Natalie Jones couldn’t get anywhere near that time, but still bagged the bronze after finishing in third place just under 9 seconds later. Simmonds had broken down in sobs as she paid tribute to her supporters after winning her first gold medal, but was all smiles this time round as she collected her medal amidst a deafening roar in the Aquatics Centre.
Two further bronzes rounded off the evening’s happenings in the pool with the first coming from Britain’s relay team, made up of Stephanie Millward, Claire Cashmore, Suzie Rodgers and Louise Watkin. The quartet came agonisingly close to silver but were beaten to it by theUnited Statesby a mere 0.14 seconds. For Suzie Rodgers it was her second bronze of the day, having claimed third place in the 100m freestyle S7 in her own right.
The day’s nine medals pushBritain’s medal total to 63, well over halfway to their target of 103 medals, but GB bosses will be keeping a careful watch on how Australia and Russia continue to fare. While the host nations still finds itself in second place, it will have to continue churning out the medals to make sure it stays there.