Monday, September 8, 2008


Eleanor Simmonds aged 13 won a Paralympic Gold Medal today, becoming the youngest ever British Paralympic Gold Medallist. Eleanor was born with dwarfism and was not expected to win a medal until 2012. However tiny Eleanor, born in Walsall, showed her indomitable spirit by defeating the favourite Dutch swimmer in the 100 metre Women's S6 Freestyle Final in an astonishing time of 1 minute 18 seconds.

Eleanor's preferred distance is 400m freestyle, and she broke the World Record in March 2008 so she has another gold medal chance in the Women's 400 metre Freestyle and may well become the "Rebecca Adlington" of the 2008 Paralympics.

The Paralympics only started on Saturday with a spectacular Opening Ceremony. The British Team have already won 15 medals, including 7 gold, mostly in swimming and cycling. Welshman Dave Roberts, one of Eleanor's Swansea teammates has won his 8th swimming title and is bidding to equal Tanni Grey-Thompson's record haul of 11 gold medals. Dave has also won the Gold Medal in the Men's 100 metre Freestyle in 3
consecutive Paralympics. Great Britain is now 3rd in the medal table behind China and the USA and just ahead of Australia.

It was exciting but humbling to watch Eleanor's tearful and triumphant face on TV tonight, remembering that all the Paralympic GB Team have overcome physical handicaps to become Olympic athletes. Good luck to them all.

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