Bethany Firth went straight to bed on Friday night. Despite the magnitude of her achievement in winning a Paralympic gold medal in the 100m backstroke S14 she wasn’t going to have her focus distracted.
“I did actually sleep, I was so tired because I’d put everything into that race and I really needed to sleep because of the other races coming up,” she said.
“All the messages I’ve received, it’s really been overwhelming the support I’ve had. There were so many I had to turn my phone off.”
The 16 year-old should have been back in the pool yesterday in the 200m freestyle S14 but, having taken advice from the Paralympics Ireland medical staff, she was withdrawn to rest the shoulder injury that almost ended her Paralympic dreams.
It was only last Wednesday, just two days before the heats of the 100m backstroke that Bethany used her arms for the first time since the injury occurred at the start of July.
Under the guidance of coach Nelson Lindsay, Bethany had been training using nothing but her legs and only a couple of weeks ago it was thought she might have had to withdraw from the Games.
However extensive physiotherapy on her shoulder at the Sports Institute of Northern Ireland allowed her to compete and Bethany went on to dominate the final.
Her proud parents, Peter and Lindsey, were there to watch. Her mum said: “I think Bethany has taken everyone’s physio quota at SINI for the year. They have worked so hard with her and cheered us up.”