reat Britain’s gold medal rush arrived at the Tokyo Aquatic Centre on Thursday morning as Tully Kearney and Maisie Summers-Newton both set world records to claim their first Paralympic titles.
Kearney suffered heartbreak in the women’s S5 200m freestyle on Wednesday, when she was pipped the final meters of the race having led throughout, missing out on gold by just 0.12seconds.
However, the 24-year-old more than made amends with a stunning swim on the 100m freestyle, shattering her own world record to take gold in 1:14.39.
“I was obviously quite frustrated with how I swam the race yesterday,” Kearney told Channel 4. “Unfortunately through the injuries, I didn’t have the fitness to hold on. Today I was determined no-one was going to beat me.
“It was so worth it – I have so many people to thank, if it wasn’t for my mother after Rio I was told I could never swim again, because of my limitations. If it wasn’t for her forcing me to swim again, I wouldn’t be here.”
Less than half-an-hour later, Britain had three athletes lining up in the final of the women’s SM6 200m individual medley, including five-time Paralympic champion Ellie Simmonds.
However, it was teammate Summers-Newton who roared into contention with a superb breaststroke leg and then held off the charge of Ukrainian Yelzaveta Mereshko – who had broken the old world record in qualifying – on the freestyle to take gold.
“It’s just absolutely insane i don’t have any words,” Summers-Newton said. “I just knew how badly I wanted it.
“I knew the breaststroke leg was my strongest leg so when I saw how close they were to me I just thought I had to go for it.”
The pair’s golds were the third and fourth of the Games for ParalympicsGB, following triumphs for cyclists Dame Sarah Storey and Jaco van Gass in the velodrome.