Kearney and Summers-Newton smash world records to claim Paralympic gold

Kearney and Summers-Newton smash world records to claim Paralympic gold

Great Britain won their first swimming gold medals of the Tokyo Paralympics after both Maisie Summers-Newton and Tully Kearney set world records in winning their events at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.

The 19-year-old Summers-Newton came from behind after the first two legs of the SM6 women’s 200m individual medley, taking the lead on the breaststroke leg and clinging on in the freestyle finale to take gold in 2min 56.68sec ahead of Ukraine’s Yelyzaveta Mereshko.

Britain’s Ellie Simmonds, who provided inspiration for a young Summers-Newton with gold at London 2012, finished fifth in the final, with Grace Harvey sixth.

“I’m just absolutely speechless,” said Summers-Newton. “Paralympic gold is what I dreamed of ever since watching Ellie in London, so to do it now it definitely hasn’t sunk in yet. Just incredible, I’m so happy.”

Simmonds, who won the medley event in Rio to take her Paralympic gold-medal tally to five, could still add to her haul in the breaststroke on Saturday but could take comfort in the fact that the winner holds her in such high regard.

“It’s just insane. Ellie’s such a Paralympic icon everywhere,” said Summers-Newton. “I’ve got used to racing alongside her. At the start I was very starstruck. But she’s the loveliest person, and to race against her is incredible. It’s just all amazing.”

Earlier Kearney added S5 women’s 100m freestyle gold to the silver she secured in the 200m event on Wednesday. The 24-year-old from Nottingham was dominant in the final, finishing 3.41sec ahead of her nearest rival in a world-record time of 1min 14.39sec.

“I don’t think I have words to describe that – shock,. really,” said Kearney. “I didn’t expect to be able to go that quick. I said yesterday my fitness wasn’t where I wanted it because of the injury.

“Today I felt rubbish in the warm-up, I felt terrible in the heats, struggling to recover from yesterday and my sore shoulder and I was not expecting to be able to swim that quick. That is just insane. I was shocked that I had actually won.”

Britain’s Suzanna Hext, who had an asthma attack on Wednesday and was taken to hospital, missed out on a bronze by 0.06sec in the same race, her second fourth-place finish of the Games.

Elsewhere, Ellen Keane held on to win a dramatic women’s SB8 100m breaststroke by 0.39sec from New Zealand’s Sophie Pascoe to claim Ireland’s first gold of the Games.

The American Anastasia Pagonis took gold in the women’s S11 400m freestyle, the 17-year-old breaking the world record in the process, and there was also a world record for Ihar Boki in the men’s S13 100m backstroke – the Belarusian has two gold medals from two events and could add four more before the Games are out.

“I’m actually a bit in disbelief because my goggles filled up with water so I didn’t know where I was,” said Keane.

“I didn’t know where Sophie was or the other girls beside me. So to me it was just sticking to the gameplan. I just gave it my all.”