PARALYMPICS: British Paralympian Josie Pearson set three new world records as she claimed gold in the discus today.
Bristol-born Pearson, who broke her neck in a car accident at the age of 17, was forced to quit wheelchair racing after being told the risk of further injury was too great and only took up throwing 18 months ago.
But the 26-year-old launched the disc out to 6.38, 6.54 and then 6.58 metres with her first three throws of the competition, extending the F51 record on each occasion.
With the competition also including F52 and 53 athletes the distances were converted into points, with Pearson’s 1122 putting her 242 clear of the rest of the field.
She said: “I can’t quite put into words how I’m feeling at the moment. I am absolutely ecstatic.
“In training I was consistently throwing over the world record so I knew it was a definite possibility that I could do it. To get that first throw and break the world record was such a relief. I was able to relax and then my next two throws were even better. I think I thrive on pressure.”
Pearson was a promising show jumper at the time of the car crash in 2003, which killed her boyfriend as well as leaving her paralysed.
She added: “When you hear that the Games are going to be in your home country that’s such an incentive to be the best at what you do.
“I can’t wait to see that golden postbox and my stamp.”
Elsewhere Rachel Morris was awarded bronze as she and Karen Darke crossed the finish line of the women’s H1-2 road race holding hands in a bid to share third place that was refused by the judges.
And there was disappointment for Team GB’s men in the 7-a-side semi-final as they let slip a 2-0 lead as Argentina beat them 4-3, while in the wheelchair rugby the hosts went down 39-51 to Japan.
But Iraq’s Ahmed Naas prompted smiles aplenty in the men’s F40 javelin as he reeled off five celebratory cartwheels after his world record throw of 42.91m.
And though China’s Wang Zhiming took gold with a 47.95m throw, the Iraqi was undoubtedly the star of the show.
Finally Paralympic legend Esther Vergeer hinted that she might retire after winning her fourth consecutive tennis singles title.
The Dutchwoman has now racked up an astonishing 470 straight wins, with the latest being today's 6-0 6-3 triumph over compatriot Aniek van Koot.
She said: “I’m not promising anything that I’ll be here in four years. I don’t know if I’ll be going to Rio.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen in that social, private part of my life.”
If you appreciated this article then please consider donating to the Morning Star's Fighting Fund to ensure we can keep developing your paper.